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DHFL scam: Court refuses to send Wadhawan brothers to further CBI remand
New Delhi: A Special CBI Court of Delhi has declined the remand application moved by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seeking further remand of accused Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Rajesh Wadhawan in the DHFL scam.
Special Judge Vishal Gogne on Saturday dismissed the application filed by the CBI seeking further police custody for three more days on the ground that there is no necessity for further custodial interrogation in the matter. Court sent them to judicial custody till August 5, 2022, to conduct further investigation into M/s Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited (DHFL) scam to tune 34000 crores.
Court noted that the CBI's assessment projected new information inter-alia shares, searches at other properties, an investigation into recovered articles like a helicopter, and investigation into multiple alleged shell companies can be carried out and continued without any particular accretion to investigation from further police custody (CBI custody) of the present two accused.
Even if the Court were to mildly comment on the specifics, it may be observed that the mobile phone purportedly recovered from the custody of co-accused Ajay Nawandar has been with the CBI for more than two weeks whereas the mobile phone purportedly now recovered from co-accused Sunny Bathija, the brother-in-law of accused Dheeraj Wadhawan has not been cloned yet and is incapable of being presently used for any confrontation with accused Dheeraj Wadhawan.
Court also said, "the continuation of further investigation may well be the necessity of the detailed allegations. It can, however, not be a reason by itself to grant police custody only because it can be granted. The application for police custody is declined."
CBI argued that there has been a certain discovery of shares valued to the tune of Rs. 18 crores during the interrogation done in the matter. Further, it was argued that the investigation has also established that the records were dishonestly falsified and material information was concealed from the records of DHFL in order to divert and siphon off the funds dishonestly & fraudulently, availed from different consortium banks led by Union Bank of India.
CBI argued that there are voluminous documents/digital data related to around 95 entities/shell companies belonging to various suspects/accused with which both accused are to be confronted. They need to be confronted with the dummy directors of Shell Companies in which the funds were diverted by DHFL availed from banks. It was also argued that there is every likelihood that further custodial interrogation of both the accused persons may lead to the recovery of further valuables and other assets acquired from the defrauded loan amount.
CBI also argued that M/s RKW Developers Pvt. Ltd. (owned by the Wadhawan family and the entities owned/controlled by them), is holding substantial shareholding in the Helicopter (AgustaGrand of AgustaWestland) in the name of MWs Varva Aviation, Pune. The value of the Helicopter was Rs.36 crores out of which M/s RKW Developers Pvt. Ltd. contributed a substantial amount in 2017 towards their stake in the cost price and maintenance of said helicopter.
CBI also stated that Dheeraj Wadhawan has been non-cooperative in the investigation as he refused to give his voice samples despite explaining the relevancy and requirement of obtaining a sample/specimen of his voice to him.
Advocate Vijay Aggarwal appearing on behalf of the Wadhawan brothers strongly opposed the plea of the CBI seeking further interrogation. He argued that despite the previous tenure of eleven days, the CBI has not been able to garner adequate material to justify further custody.
Advocate Vijay Aggarwal also argued that the alleged money trail is entirely documentary and capable of verification without custodial interrogation. He argued that the investigation will go on for days, months, or years but CBI cannot seek police custody for the entire period of investigation.
Advocate Aggarwal for the accused also argued that his client's refusal to give a voice sample does not show non-cooperation and the same can be taken during further interrogation and CBI has no right to seek his voice sample in terms of Judgment passed by the Supreme Court.
According to the CBI, the two accused persons are the principal architects of the concerted diversion of loan amounts amounting to about Rs. 29,000 crores (approximately) out of the NPA amount of Rs. 34,000 crores (approximately) in relation to the total loans of approximately Rs. 42,000 crores.
These loans were advanced by the complainant bank i.e. the Union Bank of India and other banks, forming a consortium of 17 Indian banks, to DHFL which is a non-banking finance company engaged in extending financial assistance to low and middle-income group individuals for the acquisition of houses.
CBI lawyers further stated that the independent audit of the funds loaned by the consortium to the DHFL revealed that these funds were instead disbursed by the DHFL to connected entities and individuals with commonalities to DHFL promoter/ directors. According to the CBI, out of 35 such entities, 25 entities had minimal operations and were still disbursed loans by DHFL. Thereafter, 31 more connected entities have purportedly emerged. The sum of Rs. 29,000 crores (approx) has allegedly been together diverted to these 66 entities. (ANI)