AT scam: HC denies bail to Preeti Bhatia

Cuttack: Mumbai-based model and a co-accused in Artha Tatwa chit fund scam Preeti Bhatia has to remain in jail for some more days as the Orissa High Court today rejected her bail application citing her case different from others.

The CBI argued in the court that investigation is on over alleged money trail in Preeti’s case. The probe process is likely to be affected if she was granted bail, the agency argued, which was accepted by the court.

On the other hand, Preeti’s counsel prayed court for bail to the model arguing that a woman in jail for about four months may lose mental balance. Moreover, other accused like Ranjan Das and Pravat Tripathy were already released from jail in the same case. However, such arguments failed to satisfy the court.

The High Court had reserved the verdict after completing the bail hearing on March 9.

Preeti, who was arrested by CBI for her alleged links with Artha Tatwa scam, was earlier denied bail by the special CBI court and Khurda district and sessions court in October last year.

Notably, AT group CMD Pradip Sethy, Preeti Bhatia and Indu Diwan had set up a production house titled Prism Heights Films and Entertainment, which was being looked after by Preeti. The AT group had provided money to Preeti for running the organisation. However, despite questioning several times, CBI found that statements given by Pradip and Preeti are not corroborating.

CBI sources said massive amount was transferred to Preeti and her relatives’ bank account from the AT fund without any valid reason and the amount was spent for the promotion of Mumbai and outside models. Heavy expenditure was also made to arrange corporate parties and prepare advertisements for their production house.