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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

CBI Challenges Statutory Bail Granted to DHFL Ex-Promoters in Loan Scam Case

In a significant legal development, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has vehemently contested the statutory bail accorded to former Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited (DHFL) promoters, Kapil Wadhawan and his brother Dheeraj, in connection with an intricate multi-crore rupees bank loan scam case. Presenting its case before the esteemed Supreme Court, the CBI argued that the charge sheet in question was indisputably filed well within the stipulated 90-day statutory period. Despite this, the accused were granted statutory bail by the lower courts, sparking the CBI’s legal challenge.

The intricate legal backdrop revolves around the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), where an accused gains entitlement to statutory bail if the investigating agency fails to file a charge sheet within the specified 60 or 90 days, contingent upon the nature of the case. In this particular scenario, the CBI diligently submitted the charge sheet on the 88th day following the registration of the FIR. Subsequently, the trial court exercised its discretion to grant default bail—a decision that found affirmation in the Delhi High Court.

In expounding the CBI’s stance, the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) representing the agency, S V Raju, underscored that the ongoing probe, encompassing various facets and involving additional accused individuals, led the lower courts to interpret the charge sheet as non-conclusive, thereby paving the way for the grant of default bail. Raju further emphasized that legal precedents aligned with the CBI’s argument.

On behalf of the former DHFL promoters, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi requested a reasonable timeframe to formulate and submit a comprehensive response to the CBI’s plea. Acknowledging the request, the bench, comprising Justices Bela M Trivedi and Satish Chandra Sharma, acceded to the submissions and scheduled the CBI’s plea for further deliberation on January 9 of the upcoming year.

In a prior ruling on May 30, the Delhi High Court had upheld the statutory bail bestowed upon the DHFL promoters. The high court, in its determination, asserted that the decision was anchored in sound reasoning and logic. Crucially, the high court characterized the CBI’s charge sheet as incomplete, deeming it a “final report.” Consequently, it contended that denying statutory bail based on this purportedly unfinished report would run afoul of established legal principles and the constitutional framework.

The legal imbroglio surrounding the DHFL case commenced with the arrest of the Wadhawan brothers on July 19 of the preceding year. The subsequent filing of the charge sheet on October 15, 2022, marked a pivotal development. The genesis of the case lies in an FIR lodged by the Union Bank of India, alleging a far-reaching criminal conspiracy orchestrated by DHFL, its erstwhile CMD Kapil Wadhawan, Director Dheeraj Wadhawan, and other implicated parties. The complaint posited that the accused entities conspired to defraud a consortium of 17 banks, led by the Union Bank, resulting in sanctioned loans amounting to Rs 42,871.42 crore. The CBI contends that a substantial portion of these funds was illicitly diverted and misappropriated through the manipulation of DHFL’s financial records, coupled with a deliberate default on the legitimate dues owed to the consortium banks. The cumulative effect, as asserted by the CBI, is a wrongful loss of Rs 34,615 crore.

The legal saga continues to unfold, with the Supreme Court poised to undertake a detailed examination of the CBI’s challenge to the granted statutory bail in early January.”

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