Nainital: The Uttarakhand High Court on Friday granted a stay on the arrest of Yoga guru Ramdev's close aide Acharya Balkrishna, who has been charged by the CBI for procuring fake educational degrees and using them for getting a passport.

Hearing a petition, a single-member bench of the High Court headed by Justice Tarun Agrawal also asked the CBI to file a reply on the petition before it in three weeks time, said Rajendra Dobhal, counsel of Balkrishna.

The court also asked Balkrishna to cooperate with CBI in investigations against him and also to appear before the investigating agency on August 3.

The petition for stay on arrest of Balkrishna was earlier put before Justice P C Pant on Thursday. However, he recused himself from hearing the petition and referred it to Chief Justice Barin Ghosh.

Balkrishna, who is charged with procuring fake educational degrees and using them for getting a passport, was summoned by the CBI to appear in its office here yesterday for interrogation. There were also reports that he might by arrested by the investigating agency.

However, instead of appearing before the CBI, Balkrishna had on Thursday sent a fax to the agency seeking 20-days's time to appear stating that his passport is with the British High Commission.

The agency, however, turned down his plea and asked him to appear without the passport on Friday.

Balkrishna had gone "missing" from his Divya Yog Mandir Ashram residence at Haridwar on July 25, a day after CBI registered a case against him for cheating and criminal conspiracy for procuring fake degree and violation of section 12 of the Indian Passport act for furnishing fake documents to get a passport.

On the other hand, Baba Ramdev in a press conference at Haridwar last evening claimed that Balkrishna's degrees are genuine and that he is in Patanjali ashram itself.

Balkrishna seeks more time from CBI

Meanwhile, Balkrishna has once again delayed his questioning by the CBI by seeking 10 days time to appear before it in a false certificate case, a plea rejected by the agency.

The CBI also asked Balkrishna to appear before it by August 4.

Attempting to delay his questioning for the second time, Balkrishna, who is also facing a probe on the issue of his citizenship, had on Thursday sent a fax to the CBI asking them for 20 days time to appear before it contending that his travel documents were with the UK Mission in Delhi.

The agency had, however, rejected his plea and asked him to appear without the passport on Friday for questioning. In his, Balkrishna said he was also consulting Supreme Court lawyer Ram Jethmalani and pleaded that any other date after 20 days may be given to him.

The CBI has earlier issued a look-out notice against Balkrishna after registering a case against him under section 420 (cheating) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC for procuring fake degree and for violating section 12 of the Indian Passport Act (knowingly furnishing false documents for getting passport).

The agency had also written to the Ministry of External Affairs for revoking his passport.

(Agencies)