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Litigation News

[BREAKING] Supreme Court grants bail to TMC's Saket Gokhale in misappropriation of funds case

Abhimanyu Hazarika

The Supreme Court on Monday granted bail to TMC spokesperson and transparency activist Saket Gokhale in connection with a misappropriation of funds case [Saket Suhas Gokhale v. State of Gujarat].

A bench of Justices BR Gavai and Vikram Nath said it was inclined to allow the TMC spokesperson's application since the chargesheet had already been filed in the matter.

The counsel for Gokhale informed the bench that he had been in jail for 108 days. Additional Solicitor General SV Raju opposed the application.

The bench, however, proceeded to allow the plea.

The Supreme Court was hearing a plea by the activist against a Gujarat High Court order refusing him bail in the matter involving use of funds obtained through crowdfunding.

The High Court had noted that there was a prima facie case against Gokhale. 

It had reasoned that as per the statements of witnesses, he received money not only from the wife of the complainant, but also from 1,767 persons. These amounts, the High Court had observed, were collected using social media and most transactions were online. 

The apex court had last month sought the response of the Gujarat government in the matter. 

A complaint was lodged against the Gokhale by a deputy secretary in the State government on December 28, 2022, alleging that his wife had paid some amount as a contribution to the crowdfunding initiated by him.

These funds were to be used for the welfare of the poor people. However, it was alleged that Gokhale misappropriated the funds for his personal expenses. 

In his defence, Gokhale had argued that he was being targeted and was a victim of a political vendetta. He had claimed before the Gujarat High Court that he has been framed in this case, as the government wants him to be in jail. 

Notably, Gokhale was first arrested on December 6 last year for a news clipping of a Right to Information (RTI) response he shared on Twitter stating that an amount of ₹30 crore was spent ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Morbi, where the century-old suspension bridge had collapsed in October.

He was, however, granted bail on December 8 in this case. As soon as he was released, he was immediately arrested by the Cyber Cell of the Ahmedabad Police in the misappropriation of funds case. 

[Read order]

Saket Gokhale vs State of Gujarat.pdf

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