CBI launches preliminary inquiry against ex-NCLT chief, ex-McDonald’s MD

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has launched a corruption inquiry case against the 3 National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) officials, former MD of McDonald’s North India Vikram Bakshi, and three senior advocates under the Prevention of Corruption Act of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) regarding a land dispute worth crores involving a prime property in Himachal Pradesh.

According to a report in LatestLaw.com, the case is based on a judicial order that was pronounced by the New Delhi-based NCLT in May 2021. According to sources, Bakshi and M/s Montreaux Resorts (P) Ltd were fighting over a piece of land of around 21 acres in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh, which is worth Rs 125 crore. The owners wanted to develop a 7-star luxury resort on the land, while Bakshi wanted to take control of it.

The NCLT members against whom the case has been registered are former NCLT Chairman BSV Prakash Kumar, Deepti Mukesh, and Hemant Sarangi. The advocates involved are Jay Savla, Anand Mohan Mishra, and Rishi Sood.

The charges of corruption and malicious abuse of power were leveled after the NLCT bench of Mukesh and Sarangi passed favorable orders in May 2021 on an application under Section 8 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act (1996) filed by Bakshi against Montreaux Resorts, the complainants.

As per the case details, orders on an application (CA No. 553 of 2020 in CP No. 144 of 2016) which was filed by Bakshi in September 2020 were reserved in November 2020. Following this, the final judgment was pronounced in May 2021 that favored Bakshi. The complainant has alleged that a 10-page Memo of Parties was electronically filed at NCLT on behalf of Bakshi.

The complainant added that it is “impossible to type these 10 pages in 22 minutes”, and the final document had similar mistakes as the memo. The petition has alleged that the Bench already had a soft copy of the memo before the session, and “they just copied and pasted the same text and made mistakes in the final order”.

The complainant has added that Kumar passed orders in the case on the evening of his retirement date, which means that he did not have the power to hear the matter or pass orders.

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