The Delhi High Court has directed that a trial court’s order granting bail to former Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd (DHFL) promoters, Kapil Wadhawan and his brother Dheeraj, who were arrested by the CBI in connection with a multi-crore bank loan scam case, shall not be given effect to till February 1, next year. The high court’s order came after the counsel for Wadhawans and the CBI consented to it.
“Senior Counsel appearing on behalf of the respondents (Wadhawans), on instructions, submits that the respondents will not proceed with their bail bonds before the learned Special Court. “With the consent of both the parties, it is hereby directed that the impugned order dated December 3 will not be given effect to, till the next date of hearing. List on February 1, 2023,” Justice Amit Sharma said in the order passed on Wednesday.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has challenged the trial court’s order granting statutory bail to Wadhawan brothers because of “incomplete charge sheet”. The special court, in its order, has said that on merits, the two accused persons might not be entitled to any bail keeping in view the gravity and seriousness of the case. However, it has said the court was “compelled” to release them from custody under statutory law by giving mandatory concession of default bail due to incomplete charge sheet.
The CBI counsel had argued before the high court that the agency had given a statement in the trial court that the investigation qua these two accused was complete, however, the special judge has not considered dealt with it in the order.“There is everything against these accused. The evidence is there and even cognisance was taken on the charge sheet. The special judge sidetracked the main issue and goes on to a different tangent,” he had contended.
Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, appearing for Dheeraj Wadhawan, had said his client was accused of conspiring and committing the offence with the help of bank officials but no bank official has been made accused by the CBI. He had further said there was no need to stay the bail order as there were several other cases pending against the two accused.
The trial court, in its order, has said, “The CBI cannot be entirely blamed for filing incomplete charge sheet because it was not humanly possible and was also practically very difficult to complete the very big investigation task within a period of 90 days especially when the accused persons themselves took several years altogether to complete the offences.” The special court has said the legislation wants that if the charge sheet is not filed within a period of 60 or 90 days from the date of arrest of accused person as the case may be and if it is filed but is not complete then the accused gets indefeasible right to be released on bail without any discussion on merits.
“In view of the above facts and circumstances, both the accused persons are entitled to statutory bail under section 167(2) CrPC…,” it has said.The Wadhawan brothers were arrested in this case on July 19, though they were already in custody in some other cases pending in Lucknow and Mumbai since April 2020, it has noted.
The charge sheet was filed in the trial court here on October 15 and cognisance on it has been taken.The Wadhawans had sought to be released on statutory bail on grounds that an incomplete charge sheet has been filed against them which is not legal or valid in the eyes of law and in such circumstances their judicial custody cannot be extended.
According to the FIR based on a complaint made by Union Bank of India, DHFL, the then CMD Kapil Wadhawan, the then Director Dheeraj Wadhawan and other accused persons allegedly entered into a criminal conspiracy to cheat the consortium of 17 banks led by Union Bank of India and in pursuance of the said criminal conspiracy the accused and others induced the consortium banks to sanction huge loans aggregating to Rs 42,871.42 crore.
Much of that amount was allegedly siphoned off and misappropriated by alleged falsification of the books of the DHFL and dishonest default in repayment of legitimate dues of the said consortium banks, the CBI has claimed. The complainant has alleged that a wrongful loss of Rs 34,615 crore was caused to the consortium banks in as much as such was the quantification of outstanding dues as on July 31, 2020.