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PNB Scam: HC fines junior counsel for trying to record court proceedings, lawyer claims innocence

The Bombay High Court recently fined a junior counsel engaged by businessman Vipul Ambani, an accused in the multi-crore fraud caused by the () for trying to record court proceedings.

After the counsel pleaded guilty, the electronic assets were seized and was handed over to the Prothonotary and Senior Master, High Court. Additionally a fine of Rs 7.50 lakhs was also imposed on him.

According to the court order, the court sheristedar attached to the court of judge AS Gadkari brought to the notice of the court that a person was stealthily audio/video recording of the court proceedings on his mobile phone. She also informed that, when the court staff requested the said person to hand over the said electronic device to them, he indulged into light tiff with them.

Senior defence lawyer Ashok Mundargi in the case submitted to the court that the recording was done by mistake without having any criminal intent in that. He also submitted that the junior counsel was not aware of the fact that, without permission of the Court, such recording can

be done. “… Mundargi with usual fairness at his command submitted that, to have a serious impact upon such delinquents or litigants, this court may saddle exemplary cost upon the respondent, apart from confiscating the said electronic devices/gadgets/mobile phones. Accordingly, the said mobile phones/electronic devices/gadgets are confiscated and are kept in a sealed envelope in the Court and handed over to the Prothonotary and Senior Master, High Court, Bombay,” the order states. “ Prothonotary and Senior Master, High Court Bombay is hereby directed to take all these mobile phones/electronic devices/gadgets in his custody and shall not return to the respondent at any point of time without orders from the court,” it added.

In February 2018, Ambani , the then President (finance) of Firestar International was arrested in the over Rs 13,000 PNB scam. Ambani was accused of concealing incriminating documents/articles relevant to the case in the office of a law firm and the said documents were subsequently recovered during the searches which were conducted at the said firm.

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