Sun, 05 Feb 2023

New Delhi [India], December 6 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Tuesday agreed to hear in detail the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) plea challenging the trial court order granting statutory bail to Dheeraj and Kapil Wadhawan, former promoters of DHFL in India's biggest bank fraud case to the tune of Rs 34,926.77 crore, on the ground that an incomplete chargesheet was filed by the probe agency.

Justice Amit Sharma, after going through the arguements at length, posted the matter for Wednesday for further arguements saying, "this matter requires a detail consideration".

The CBI plea challenged the trial court order and also sought direction to stay on the order passed.

During the hearing in the high court, CBI counsel Anupam Sharma submitted that the special judge of the trial court had not considered several submissions made by CBI while urging the court to stay the order granting bail to the two accused.

Senior Advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, representing Kapil Wadhawan, said he was strongly opposing the stay application and submitted that they are granted time to file a reply to the CBI's petition and to show how the chargesheet was incomplete.

Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, appearing for Dheeraj Wadhawan, 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.

Advocate Aggarwal further submitted that there was no need to stay the bail order as there were several other cases pending against the two accused.

The special judge of the trial court on December 3, while passing the order, stated that the accused persons -- Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan -- were found 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, the accused persons might not be entitled to a bail but this court is compelled to release them under statutory law from custody by giving a mandatory concession of default bail due to an incomplete chargesheet.

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 withina period of 90 days especially when the accused persons themselves took several years altogether to complete the offences, said the trial court.

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, the court noted.

"We are not blaming the investigating agency for any lapse, intentional delay, lethargy, negligence and for not doing its homework before filing 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," the trial court said.

The court further noted that both these accused were formally arrested on July 19 in the present case, though they were still 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.

Before the trial court, Advocate Vijay Aggarwal appearing for the Wadhawan brothers argued that an incomplete chargesheet has been filed and his clients were 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 were chargesheeted and this figure may go more than 10 times after the complete investigation and in that eventuality for the 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 Aggarwal also argued that the existence of the power of the prosecution to further investigate the matter cannot be denied but the same comes into the picture on the discovery of additional evidence during the investigation and also once a complete chargesheet is filed complete in the aspect of all the allegations levelled in the FIR and information of which has been given to investigating agency.

According to the FIR, based on a complaint made by Union Bank of India allegation that M/s 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, alleged CBI. (ANI)

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