The Bombay High Court today asked the police not to file charge sheet against actor Shilpa Shetty and her businessman husband Raj Kundra in an alleged cheating case for two weeks till it hears the matter again. A division bench of justices R V More and Sarang Kotwal gave the direction to the police while hearing a joint plea by Shetty and Kundra for quashing of a case of cheating and criminal breach of trust against the couple. “Do not file a charge sheet in the case till we hear this petition,” said the bench while also seeking the police’s stand over the plea by the couple. It adjourned the matter for two weeks.
On April 27, the Bhiwandi police in neighbouring Thane district registered the case against Shilpa and Raj for allegedly duping a textile firm owner of Rs 24 lakh. Shilpa and Raj were booked for allegedly committing the penal offences of criminal breach of trust and cheating, respectively under sections 406 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code. The IPC section 406 entails a jail term up to three years while section 420 attracts a maximum punishment of seven years on conviction.
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The duo had been granted anticipatory bail by a Thane sessions court in May this year. They had then approached the high court for having the case quashed. Shetty and Kundra’s lawyer Aniket Nikam said the complainant in the case and a company, Best Deal TV Pvt Ltd, of which the accused (Shilpa and Kundra) were directors, were in a business partnership for over a year.
“Best Deal had made a payment of over Rs one crore to the complainant in the past and hence it cannot be said that the accused persons had any intention to cheat the complainant,” Nikam said. He further argued that the case was civil in nature. According to the complaint, Best Deal collected money from customers for sale of bedsheets on behalf of another company Malotia Textiles through TV ads, but allegedly did not pay the proceeds to the latter.