Mumbai court issues non-bailable warrant against Gujarat BJP chief

Ahmedabad: Gujarat BJP president Jitu Vaghani on Wednesday was in trouble when a Mumbai court issued a non-bailable warrant against him and his business partners in connection with the bouncing of a cheque of Rs 19 lakh issued by his Eva Group of Companies.

According to information available here, the Bhavnagar-based Eva Group, of which Vaghani is a partner, had bought a piece of land for Rs 10.85 crore in Mumbai's upmarket Bandra suburb in an auction in August 2010. The land was originally owned by Stan Rose Steel Ltd, which went into liquidation.

The company then re-sold it a higher premium to Novelty Power Infratech Company, which paid Rs 3 crore as the first instalment. But Novelty Power later cancelled the deal since the Eva Group was taking far too long to get title clearance for the land.

The Eva Group agreed to return the money along with interest and other expenses. But its first cheque of Rs 24 lakh was dishonoured for lack of funds in the account. This payment was the first instalment.

A metropolitan magistrate's court in Bandra issued a warrant against Vaghani and his partners under Sections 138 and 141 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. The Eva group challenged the order in a higher court, which rejected its plea.

After this, the court issued a bailable warrant but the Gujarat Police returned the warrant claiming that the addresses were "untraceable". The Mumbai court now issued a non-bailable warrant and directed the Gujarat Police to go to Bhavnagar to execute the warrant.

But the Gujarat Police again claimed that despite two visits to his addresses on Monday and Sunday, the state BJP chief could not be found. However, Vaghani was available to reporters in Ahmedabad on Wednesday to allege that the case was "politically motivated to give a bad name" to his party.

Meanwhile, state BJP spokesman Bharat Pandya claimed that very next day after the cheque bounced, Vaghani had transferred Rs 19 lakh to the company through RTGS. "But some interested parties had suppressed the facts about his making the payment through RTGS and was misusing the social media to defame Vaghani and the BJP." 

Vaghani himself, however, did not say anything about his transferring the money through RTGS.