EXCLUSIVE: Despite the jail sentence, Rajkumar Santoshi has not gone behind bars and can file an appeal; lawyer of the complainant shares details; Santoshi’s lawyer releases statement : Bollywood News – Bollywood Hungama

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Yesterday, Bollywood Hungama was one of the first websites to break the news that a Jamnagar court has sentenced Rajkumar Santoshi to jail for two years in a cheque bounce case. At the same time, the court also ordered the filmmaker to deposit double the amount that the filmmaker owed the complainant. The news spread like wild fire and many assumed that Rajkumar had gone behind bars already. Bollywood Hungama has learned that the acclaimed filmmaker has the right to file an appeal and thus save himself from going to jail.

EXCLUSIVE: Despite the jail sentence, Rajkumar Santoshi has not gone behind bars and can file an appeal; lawyer of the complainant shares details; Santoshi’s lawyer releases statement

EXCLUSIVE: Despite the jail sentence, Rajkumar Santoshi has not gone behind bars and can file an appeal; lawyer of the complainant shares details; Santoshi’s lawyer releases statement

The complainant, Ashok Lal, a resident of Jamnagar and the owner of Shreeji Shipping, had loaned Rajkumar Santoshi Rs. 1.10 crore in 2015 for a film. To repay the loan, Rajkumar gave Ashok Lal 11 cheques of Rs. 10 lakhs each. These cheques bounced in December 2016. The complainant at first tried to establish contact with the filmmaker over this matter. When he failed to do so, Ashok Lal filed the suit under the Negotiable Instruments Act.

Bollywood Hungama exclusively spoke to Piyush Bhojani, the advocate for Ashok Lal. Piyush confirmed that Rajkumar Santoshi was not present during the hearing on February 17. He also explained, “The maximum imprisonment in such negotiable cases is two years and the maximum fine is double the amount owed. Once the judgment is announced, the accused gets a period of 30 days to file an appeal. After filing the appeal, he has to deposit 20% of the amount. In other words, he’s bound to deposit Rs. 22 lakhs. If he fails to do so, he’ll be imprisoned.” He continued, “If we win after he files the appeal, he’ll go to the High Court where again, he’ll have to deposit 20% of the amount.”

Piyush Bhojani also revealed that this was not the first case against Rajkumar Santoshi by the complainant, “Three cases were also filed against him in 2014.” When asked how both parties met, he replied, “Mr Ashok Lal is a businessman. He also has an office and residence in Mumbai. They met and became friends. In the past, Mr Santoshi had taken the loan several times but he had always returned the amount within the stipulated time. This time, however, he defaulted.”

Rajkumar Santoshi even skipped hearings several times. In April 2023, he had to attend the hearing after a bailable warrant was issued against him. Piyush Bhojani stated, “He came for the hearings twice. He had to come when the case was filed in 2017. It’s mandatory. Then he attended a hearing last year. This time probably, he was aware that he’d be punished. Hence, he skipped attending the hearing. But now, he’ll have to attend to file the appeal. It can’t be done without his presence.”

The chances of Rajkumar Santoshi going behind bars are unlikely, said the lawyer, “Very few people go to jail in such cases.” He added, “Mr Ashok Lal is ultra-rich and has his own private jet. The amount was not a significant one for him. But this case was important for us so that a message is sent loud and clear to everyone that if they try to run away with his money, he/she will be punished.”

Meanwhile, Rajkumar Santoshi’s advocate, Binesh Patel, released a statement, “First of all, the court has stayed its judgement for 30 days and has granted Mr Santoshi bail after we sought time to appeal against the judgement at a higher forum. The prosecution didn’t produce any documentary evidence to prove that Mr Santoshi had taken money at all. The prosecution itself has admitted that a third party had collected the said money from the complainant. In return, the third party had provided altered eleven cheques of Rs.10 lakhs each, which Mr Santoshi was not aware of. The magisterial court overlooked these facts and ruled against us. Therefore, on the grounds of invalid and false claims, alterations happened in the cheques. The fact is that the complainants do not want to present or call in the said third party who had collected the money, about whom Mr Santoshi does not know. So, we shall appeal at a higher forum with the above-highlighted points and even more.”

Also Read: Rajkumar Santoshi opens up about cheque bouncing case; says, “Easily solvable. My lawyers are on it”

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