The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Tuesday granted bail to Hilal Rather, son of a former National Conference minister, in a ₹ 177 crore bank fraud case.
Hilal, son of former finance minister Abdul Rahim Rather, was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on January 17 for his alleged involvement in misappropriation of crores of rupees from the term loans sanctioned by J&K Bank for his ambitious township project known as Paradise Avenue at Narwal Bala, Jammu in 2012.
The case was later taken over by the CBI.
Hilal was granted bail by Justice Iqbal Wani on surety bond of ₹ five lakh with a direction to surrender his passport and not to leave Jammu and Kashmir, a court official said.
The CBI took over the probe against Hilal in March and a special court subsequently refused to grant him interim bail, rejecting his fears of contracting COVID-19 and noting that he was “more at risk outside the prison”.
He had moved an application using WhatsApp on medical grounds before the Special CBI judge, Jammu seeking interim bail after the central probe agency filed a chargesheet against him and others in the fraud case within 10 days of taking over the case.
In this application, Hilal had cited the prevailing threat of contracting the coronavirus during his incarceration.
The case which was probed by the anti-corruption branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police was handed over to the CBI because of “international ramifications” of the conspiracy of loan funds diversion.
“The possibility of stashing of funds and diversion of funds to subversive elements cannot be ruled out,” the ACB had stated as one of the reasons for handing over the probe to the central agency.
It is alleged that Hilal had taken a loan from the J&K Bank for his ambitious township project in 2012, when his father was the Finance Minister of the erstwhile state, and that the loan was sanctioned without submitting any collateral and the money was diverted from the bank account.