CBI opposes statutory bail granted to DHFL’s Wadhawans in loan scam case

The CBI on Tuesday assailed in the Supreme Court the statutory bail granted by courts below to former Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited (DHFL) promoters Kapil Wadhawan and his brother Dheeraj in connection with a multi-crore rupees bank loan scam case.

A bench comprising Justices Bela M Trivedi and Satish Chandra Sharma was told by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) S V Raju, appearing for the CBI, that the charge sheet in the case was filed well within the 90 days statutory period and yet the statutory bail was granted to the accused.

Under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), an accused becomes entitled for grant of statutory bail if the probe agency fails to file the charge sheet on conclusion of the investigation in a criminal case within 60 or 90 days period.

In this case, the CBI filed the charge sheet on the 88th day after registration of the FIR and the trial court granted default bail to the accused and the Delhi High Court upheld the order, the law officer said.

The CBI probe, relating to other aspects and against some other accused, was continuing and the courts below construed that the charge sheet filed was not final and granted default bail to the accused, the ASG said, adding there were several judgements which support the plea of the probe agency.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for former DHFL promoters, said some time be granted for filing response to the CBI’s plea.

The bench agreed to the submissions and listed the plea of CBI for hearing on January 9 next year.

Earlier on May 30, the Delhi High Court upheld the statutory bail granted to DHFL promoters in connection with a multi-crore rupees bank loan scam case.

The high court had dismissed the petition of the CBI challenging the trial court order of December 3 last year and held that holding the decision to grant them bail was “based on good reasoning and logic”.

It had also said the charge sheet filed by the agency was incomplete and termed it as a “final report” on investigation to deny statutory bail to the accused would be against the law and the Constitution.

“This Court is of the considered opinion that the charge sheet filed by the CBI in the present case is an incomplete/piecemeal charge sheet and termed the same as a final report under section 173 (2) Cr.PC. merely to ruse the statutory and fundamental right of default bail to the accused shall negate the provision under Section 167 CrPC and will also be against the mandate of Article 21 of the Constitution of India,” the high court had said.

“There is no illegality or perversity in the order of the learned sessions judge… Accordingly, the order dated 03.12.2022 passed by Ld. Special Judge, P.C. Act, Rouse Avenue District Courts, New Delhi, is upheld. The present petition is dismissed,” it had said.

The Wadhawan brothers were arrested in this case on July 19 last year. The high court, however, had clarified it did not go into the merits of the case.

The charge sheet was filed on October 15, 2022 and cognisance was taken.

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The FIR in the case was based on a complaint made by the Union Bank of India.

It had alleged that DHFL, its then CMD Kapil Wadhawan, the then Director Dheeraj Wadhawan and other accused persons entered into a criminal conspiracy to cheat the consortium of 17 banks led by the Union Bank of India, and in pursuance of the criminal conspiracy, the accused and others induced the consortium to sanction huge loans aggregating 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 the legitimate dues of the 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 the outstanding dues as on July 31, 2020.

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