Bharat Shah’s ‘missing’ ex-secretary faces court ire
MUMBAI:The special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court refused to give Tarun Shah, former secretary of diamond merchant Bharat Shah, the amount the state received from auctioning his flat when he was absconding from the judicial process in his employer’s underworld connection case. Though the 67-year-old has now been acquitted of all charges but the court refused to refund the amount since he escaped judicial process for more than the stipulated time — two years— after his flat was attached.
After the arrest of his boss and film producer Nazim Rizvi in the year 2000, Tarun said he was scared and hence left the city. He was declared a proclaimed offender a year later when the Mumbai crime branch couldn’t trace him.
When he failed to appear in court, the crime branch initiated the process of attachment of his property – a flat in Gomdevi. When this happened, Tarun’s wife, who was the owner of the property, moved the court objecting to the auction. The court rejected her appeal and allowed the crime branch to proceed. The flat was auctioned on January 6, 2003 and sold to one Nina Kapadia for Rs61 lakh. As Tarun was still at large the proceeds were deposited with the government. It was only in November 2004 Tarun surrendered and the trial against him began. Six years after, the court acquitted him. When Shah’s acquittal by the special MCOCA court remained unchallenged by the crime branch, he in 2011 moved Bombay HC for refund of the auction amount they received for his flat with interest. Tarun pleaded auctioning his flat was illegal and since he has been acquitted he should be given the sale amount with 18% per annum interest. The HC directed him to approach the special MCOCA court. In 2015, Tarun moved the MCOCA court. While defending the crime branch, special public prosecutor Rohini Salian argued Tarun had failed to surrender before the court in the time stipulated under the law, which is two years after the attachment of property. The special MCOCA judge VV Patil last week decided against him.