The Supreme Court on Monday quashed a petition filed by financial expert and billionaire Nimesh Kampani to stop criminal proceeding initiated against him in the Nagarjuna Finance scam, thus clearing the way for his arrest.
The Supreme Court bench headed by justice Altamas Kabir, however, allowed Kampani to seek anticipatory bail.
The apex court had on 2 April stayed the arrest of Kampani. He was reportedly hiding in Dubai for a while and moved the Supreme Court in March.
The Mumbai-based investment banker and other executives of the Hyderabad-based non-banking financial company Nagarjuna Finance are under investigation for the firm's alleged failure to return around Rs98.3 crore collected from 85,160 depositors in 1997-98.
Kampani, against whom the Andhra Pradesh police had issued a search circular, was a non-executive director in Nagarjuna Group's non-banking financial company Nagarjuna Finance.
Nagarjuna Finance had collected deposits from the public but failed to meet its commitments to depositors following adverse market reaction towards the company after a setback to its hire purchase business.
The Andhra Pradesh police had arrested the company chairman K S Raju in December 2008, and had issued an "international lookout notice" against Kampani and 17 others.
Kampani's personal wealth is valued at $1.3 billion according to Forbes Magazine. He is also rated the 42nd richest Indian and 897th richest man in the world by Forbes.
Reports say Kampani's proximity with media baron Ramoji Rao may have landed him in trouble since Rao finds no favour with the state government and his media empire faces stiff competition from a rival network owned by chief minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy's son.
Kampani had reportedly invested Rs1,200 crore in 2008 in Ushodaya Enterprises, which is a media conglomerate owned by Rao.
Kampani reportedly invested through a privately owned special purpose vehicle called Equator Trading Enterprises Pvt Ltd.
Incidentally the deal came after the Rs1,081 crore Blackstone-Ushodaya PE deal was undone due to political pressure.
Sources say Ramoji Rao needed this deal badly since he was facing the prospect of liquidation of assets to pay depositors of Margadarsi Finance, which is a company owned by Rao and his family.
So Kampani's timely investment may have bailed out Ramoji Rao. But observers say that may not have gone down well with the Andhra Pradesh government.
Rao is already fighting several court cases slapped by the Rajashekhar Reddy government.