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Right To Default Bail Not Extinguished With Simultaneous Filing Of Chargesheet: Madras High Court

[20 December 2021]
The Kerala High Court directed a CBI investigation into a scam involving misappropriation of over ₹7.5 crores from the Kerala Advocates Welfare Fund. The amount was allegedly swindled through fake documents over a span of 10 years. Justice Sunil Thomas observed that the investigation had to be handed over to the CBI weighing the depravity of the offence: “After considering the complexity of the nature involved and the fact that the matter is of a general importance, applicable to interest of all the lawyers as a community who have a right to know, how their contribution was misused, to sustain the faith of the public in the Bar Council as well as the Advocate’s Welfare Fund Trust, the deep and perversive nature of the crime involved, the matter needs investigation by a specialized agency.” The Bench further pulled up the Trustee Committee in charge of maintaining the fund, upon finding that it had not maintained any records or properly audited the funds for over a decade as statutorily required: “What shocks the conscience of anybody is that, during the long period of ten years, no records were maintained and the records whatever meant were shabbily retained… Shockingly, nobody verified the records and that during this long period, the records were not even audited, even though Trustee Committee was under an obligation to get the records audited…. This indifference from the Trustee Committee has led to this enormous squandering of the money by the persons concerned.”

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