JAIPUR: In a relief to former Union minister Arun Shourie, the Rajasthan High Court stayed the arrest warrant against him on Wednesday in the case of an alleged disinvestment scam in the sale of the government-run Laxmi Vilas Palace Hotel in Udaipur in 2002.
Last week, a special CBI court in Jodhpur ruled that the sale of ITDC-owned Laxmi Vilas Palace Hotel to Bharat Hotels Ltd for Rs 7.52 crore during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government, when Shourie was the minister in-charge of divestment, had caused Rs 244-crore loss to the exchequer.
The High Court has asked Shourie to personally appear and furnish a personal bond of Rs 5 lakh and a surety of Rs 2.5 lakh by the next hearing in the case on October 15. Shourie’s counsel Prashant Bhushan, who appeared through video-conferencing, argued that there was neither the condition nor the urgency to summon the accused by arrest warrant, and that the CBI court had grievously erred in passing its order last week.
Justice Dinesh Mehta converted the arrest warrant of Shourie into a bailable warrant and directed him to furnish a personal bond and surety. The relief to Shourie was widely expected as the HC on Tuesday had already stayed the arrest warrant against former disinvestment secretary Pradip Baijal and two others — MD of Lazard India Ltd Ashish Guha and MD of Bharat Hotels Ltd Jyotsana Suri.