Observing that multiplicity of proceedings was not in “larger public interest”, the Supreme Court has exercised its special power and allowed consolidation of multiple FIRs, the consequential trial to one court in Greater Noida about the multi-crore rupees alleged ‘Bike Bot’ and ”Grand Venice Mall” scams.
Over 100 FIRs were registered against several persons in Uttar Pradesh and one FIR in Delhi in connection with the Bike Bot scheme scam.
According to the probe agency, more than two lakh people were allegedly cheated of about Rs 15,000 crore on the false promise of lucrative returns on investments in a bike taxi service scheme.
Around 46 FIRs were registered against several persons in connection with the alleged Grand Venice Mall scam in which investors claimed that they were duped by the accused in handing over the plot of land.
A bench comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar, Abhay S Oka, and Justice J B Pardiwala was dealing with a batch of petitions of the accused seeking various reliefs such as grant of bail, protection against coercive action including the relief of consolidation of FIRs, and trial at one place where the alleged offenses were committed.
“Although diverse reliefs have been claimed in these writ petitions, the learned counsel appearing for the parties have broadly agreed that they would confine the relief of clubbing of multiple FIRs in respect of Bike Bot Scheme with the principal FIR bearing No… registered at Police Station Dadri, District Gautam Budh Nagar, Uttar Pradesh,” it said.
“We are also of the opinion that multiplicity of proceedings will not be in the larger public interest as well,” the bench noted in its order while ordering clubbing of the FIR.
It also referred to and relied upon the judgment of the apex court passed in the case of TV journalist Amish Devgan and exercised its wide power under Article 142 (it empowers SC to pass any order to ensure justice) of the Constitution while ordering clubbing of multiple FIRs in both the scam cases.
“In the peculiar facts of the present case, we, in the exercise of power under Article 142 of the Constitution of India, accede to the relief claimed in terms of the prayer clause about consolidation of all FIRs, including registered in New Delhi, with FIR No.206/2019 as the principal FIR and for being proceeded with by the law,” it said.
Lawyer Vishal Gosain appeared for one of the petitioners, Satinder Singh Bhasin, and argued that the FIRs related to the same accusations needed to be clubbed to avoid multiplicity of proceedings.
Under the ‘Bike Bot’ scheme, floated by a company known as Garvit Innovative Promoters Limited (GIPL), an investor had to pay Rs 62,100 per bike with an assurance of Rs 5,175 in monthly returns and other benefits. The rent was fixed at Rs 4,590 per bike per month, the probe agency had said.
Investors could invest in as many bikes as they desired. It was a multi-level marketing scheme, it had said, adding that more than two lakh people were allegedly cheated of about Rs 15,000 crore on the false promise of lucrative returns on investments in a bike taxi service scheme.