HC gives Athwani interim protection, hearing on anticipatory bail on Aug 7

Cuttack: A day after Commissionerate Police declared to send a two-member team to Bihar to interrogate airhostess Chitra Athwani in connection with the arrest of Deccan Chronicle vice-chairman P.K. Iyer, the Orissa High Court today granted her interim protection till her anticipatory bail plea is heard on August 7.

The court has, however, asked Athwani to record her statement before the investigating officer in the case.

Speaking to mediapersons in Bhubaneswar yesterday, police commissioner R.P. Sharma had said that the investigating officer of the case and an inspector are the two members of the police team going to question Athwani at her Darbhanga residence in Bihar.

Earlier, the police had sent summons to Athwani twice to appear before it for questioning. However, she did not come to depose before the cops. Instead, she sent a letter along with a medical report to Nayapalli police station when the summons was issued to her for second time.

Athwani stated in the letter that due to health reasons, she would not be able to appear before the Commissionerate Police as per the summons. The medical report, which Athwani had enclosed with the letter, mentioned that she received injuries in her spinal cord after a fall at her home.

The Commissionerate Police is presently investigating the nature of the relationship between Iyer, who was wanted by CBI for an alleged bank loan fraud worth Rs 357 crore, and Athwani since he was arrested from a room of the hotel booked in her name.

During investigation, police found that Iyer had first arrived at the hotel with Athwani at about 2 am on February 14. They had stayed together for 10 days before she left the hotel. Iyer, however, booked a hotel room in the same hotel in her name and continued to stay till his arrest on June 6.