A cardiologist accused of stealing a leather belt worth over Rs 10,000 from a duty-free shop at Mumbai airport has dodged criminal charges after agreeing to pay Rs 1 lakh to actor Nana Patekar's NGO Naam Foundation, which works for farmers.
The donation was a precondition set by the Bombay high court to quash the FIR filed against Dr Mahesh Sinha (name changed) on a complaint by Flemingo Airport Retail, which owns the store at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.
A division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Amjad Sayed was hearing a petition filed by Sinha claiming he had reached a settlement with the complainant. In an affidavit, Flemingo Airport Retail added that Sinha had paid the cost of the belt (Rs 10,500) as well as an equivalent sum as fine, and the grievance now stood settled. They said they had written to police that they didn't want to proceed with the complaint.
Sinha had been booked under Section 380 (theft) of the Indian Penal Code, and faced a jail term of up to seven years on conviction.
The doctor was identified after a sixmonth-long investigation that saw police trawl through CCTV footage as well as pas senger lists of the 10 flights that had arrived in the same window of time that the theft took place. Police zeroed in on Sinha in August, seven months after the alleged theft, after going through the passengers' Facebook pages.
Through his lawyers Mohan Tekavde and Swati Tekavde, the Nashik-based doctor pleaded innocence and said he had made the settlement to "to avoid an unpleasant situation".