Mere renewal of passport no leverage for accused to travel abroad, says Delhi court

A court here has given its no-objection to a suspected middleman in a bribery case involving a top GAIL official to renew his passport, saying its mere reissuance would not give him the leverage to travel abroad on his free will.

The court passed the order on an application moved by Pawan Gaur, who had allegedly acted as a middleman for GAIL Director (Marketing) ES Ranganathan by obtaining bribes from private companies buying petrochemical products marketed by the public sector company.

Granting relief, Special Judge Namrita Aggarwal noted that Gaur has till date not tried to evade the process of justice.

The application was opposed by the CBI, which claimed that the accused might try to flee justice if the request was granted.

In an order passed on Wednesday, the judge said, “Mere renewal of the passport would not give the leverage to the accused to travel abroad at his free will without seeking permission of the court.”

The judge, however, clarified that the order was not a direction to the passport authorities to issue the document to the applicant.

“This is a no-objection from the court for the issuance of passport with a clarification that (the) court has no objection if the passport of the applicant is renewed for a period of 10 years. The applicant is directed to seek permission of the court before leaving the country,” the judge said.

Gaur and Ranganathan are accused in a Rs 50 lakh bribery case. They allegedly gave discounts to private companies buying petrochemical products marketed by the ‘Maharatna’ public sector undertaking.

Ranganathan is also an accused in a separate case of amassing assets worth more than Rs 4.82 crore, disproportionate to his known sources of income, during 2017-22.

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