Manipal fraud: court rejects bail to three of family

Manipal fraud: court rejects bail to three of family

The city civil and sessions court has rejected the bail applications of three members of a family accused in the Rs 70-crore Manipal Education and Medical Group fraud. 

Vidyadhara Shirahatti, the 60th Additional Sessions Court judge, rejected the bail applications of Amrita Chengappa and her mother Meera Chengappa and the anticipatory bail application of her brother Vishal Somanna on Friday, calling the fraud "heinous". 


The fraud is suspected to have been masterminded by Sandeep Gururaj, a deputy general manager (finance) at the group. Gururaj, 38, had joined the company in 2004 and took over financial transactions after winning over the group's chairman Ranjan Pai and director Shruthi R Pai. Amrita was an HR manager in the company during that time. Though married to Charusmitha P N, Gururaj allegedly had an affair with Amrita. 

Amrita and Meera sought bail on the grounds that they had no role in the fraud, that they are residents of Karnataka and that they will cooperate in the investigation. 

Somanna, a pilot with Qatar Airways in Doha, sought anticipatory bail stating that he was ready to appear before the investigating officer and follow any condition imposed by the court. He claimed he had no connection with Gururaj and no role whatsoever in the fraud. 

Opposing the bail applications, Public Prosecutor Shailaja K Nayak noted that the police had evidence of the three suspects' involvement in the fraud. For example, Gururaj had sent the stolen money to their bank accounts, including Rs 52 crore to the account of Somanna alone. Second, all the three played a role in forging the signature of Pai. Third, with Somanna out of the country, his mother and sister are likely to join him abroad if they are released on bail. Lastly, the suspects could tamper with the evidence and influence the witnesses, the prosecutor stated.