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Pendse probe appeal spiked

Mumbai, Jan. 9: The noose around former Tata Finance (TFL) boss Dilip Sudhakar Pendse tightened today as the Supreme Court rejected his appeal for transferring investigations against him by the Delhi Economic Offences Wing (EOW) to its Mumbai counterpart.

Charged with funds misappropriation, the man at the heart of the controversy around the finance company lost his battle to keep the cops away when the apex court removed the stay clamped on his arrest.

The Tatas hired a battery of legal eagles—Ram Jethmalani and Arun Jaitley (also Rajya Sabha MPs), instructed by Karanjiwala & Company — to represent them in court.

The Delhi EOW has booked offences under Sections 420, 409, 477 A and 120 B of IPC against Pendse in the case pertaining to cheating, forgery, criminal breach of trust, falsification of accounts, diversion and misappropriation of funds of Inshallah Investments Limited (IIL), a Tata Group company.

The Supreme Court order makes Pendse’s arrest imminent. “It may happen late today or tomorrow,” sources said.

The bench comprising Chief Justice Sabharwal and Justice H. K. Sema did not admit Pendse’s appeal against the Mumbai High Court’s order rejecting his plea to transfer the investigations filed against him by Inshallah Investments to Mumbai Police.

The court also vacated the stay on his arrest, which had been granted as an interim order before the court went on vacation. New Delhi police counsel Parag Tripathi appeared before the bench while senior counsel Udaya Lalit represented Pendse.

Pendse had approached the Supreme Court against a Mumbai High Court judgement dated December 17, 2002. The Mumbai court had rejected his plea and declared it had no wish to interfere in the proceedings of the Delhi High Court in its judgement. The Supreme Court had granted an interim stay on the order of the Mumbai High Court till January 9, 2003.

The probe was initiated by Delhi EOW following a complaint filed on behalf of Inshallah on September 14, 2002, which points at Pendse issuing cheques worth Rs 2 crore to two brokers allegedly for payments of personal transactions of a former TFL director and Telco dealer (Jasper), B Ramakrishna.

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