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DHFL case: CBI moves Delhi HC against statutory bail to Wadhawan brothers

DHFL case: CBI moves Delhi HC against statutory bail to Wadhawan brothers
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday approached the Delhi High Court challenging a trial court order granting statutory bail to Dheeraj and Kapil Wadhawan, ex-promoters of DHFL, in what is considered India's biggest bank fraud case to the tune of Rs 34,926.77 crore.

The bail was granted on the ground that an incomplete chargesheet was filed within the statutory period.

The CBI sought an urgent stay on the matter on Monday before the bench headed by Delhi High Court Chief Justice Satish Chander Sharma also comprising Justice Subramonium Prasad.

The Special Judge of the Trial Court on Saturday, while passing the order, stated that Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan are entitled to statutory bail without discussing the merits of the case because of an incomplete chargesheet.

The trial court Judge said, keeping in view the gravity and seriousness of the case perhaps accused persons might not be entitled to any bail but this court is compelled to release them under statutory law from custody by giving a mandatory concession of default bail due to incomplete chargesheet.

The CBI cannot be entirely blamed for filing an incomplete chargesheet 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 court said.

It could not have been expected from CBI to unearth each and every accused, find out every corner of the conspiracy, collect entire evidence and trace out the huge embezzled amount etc. within such a short period of 90 days when some part of the investigation has to take place out of the country also, noted the court

The court is not blaming the investigating agency for any lapse, intentional delay, lethargy, negligence and for not doing its homework before filing a chargesheet if the practical difficulties of it and the fact of shortage of time are taken into consideration.

Otherwise also, investigating officers are human beings and it will be highly unreasonable to expect them to work for entire 24x7 days and to run from one place to another without any break, said the trial court.

The court further noted that both these accused were formally arrested on July 19 this year in the present case, though they were already in custody in some other cases pending in Lucknow and Mumbai since April, 2020.

The CBI filed the chargesheet consisting of about 55,000 pages in the court on October 15 this year kept in six trunks. Cognizance on this chargesheet has been already taken. This chargesheet filed was described as incomplete by the accused persons, against the provisions of Section 173 Cr.P.C.

Before the trial court, Advocate Vijay Aggarwal appearing for the Wadhawan brothers argued that an incomplete chargesheet has been filed and his clients are entitled to statutory bail as further investigation on various material aspects has not been conducted by CBI.

He further argued that at present only 75 accused persons are chargesheeted and this figure may go up by more than 10 times after the complete investigation and in that eventuality for trial of this case alone, there may be a necessity of exclusive one single court to deal with this case.

He also stated that out of Rs 34,926 crore which was allegedly embezzled by the accused persons, CBI is able to recover even less than 2 per cent of the said amount.

Advocate Vijay Aggarwal also argued that the existence of power of the prosecution to investigate the matter further cannot be denied but the same comes into picture on discovery of additional evidence during the investigation and also once a complete chargesheet is filed complete in aspect of all the allegations levelled in the FIR and information of which has been given to the investigating agency.

According to the FIR, based on a complaint made by Union Bank of India it was alleged that Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd. (DHFL), Kapil Wadhawan, the then CMD, Dheeraj Wadhwan, the then Director, both of DHFL and other accused persons 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 said accused Kapil Wadhwan and others induced the consortium banks to sanction huge loans.

Much of this 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 said consortium banks.

The complainant 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, as per the CBI.

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