KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday set aside the order passed by the Special Court constituted under Prevention of Money Laundering Act granting permission to Uthup Varghese, an accused in the nursing scam, to visit Abu Dhabi and directed him to return to India on or before January 5, 2019.
Uthup was arrested by the Directorate of Enforcement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act for sending money abroad using hawala channels. Justice K Abraham Mathew issued the order on the petition filed by Directorate of Enforcement on challenging the special court order relaxing the bail condition and granted 45 days to visit Abu Dhabi for treatment. On November 24, the special court had suspended the bail condition not to leave Ernakulam district for a period of 45 days, facilitating Varghese to leave the country. Based on the order, Varghese left the country on November 26.
Central Government standing counsel Suvin R Menon submitted the accused rushed to the UAE only to derail the probe in the case.
The court noted the Special Judge had observed Uthup wanted to go abroad in connection with his treatment. But Uthup did not produce even a single document to prove his illness. He was allowed to go only because of the fact that on two other cases, the High Court allowed him to go abroad.
The Special Judge should not have allowed merely for the reason that in two other cases, the HC allowed Uthup’s plea. In those two cases, his stay abroad would not affect the investigation. But this case was different and his stay abroad may enable him to destroy the evidence. The court directed the special judge to consider the bail application afresh if Uthup files a fresh petition.