In a major turn of events in the DHFL loan scam case, the Supreme Court issued an order today for the prompt arrest of former promoters Kapil Wadhawan and his brother Dheeraj Wadhawan, overturning a Delhi High Court decision granting them statutory bail.
The Supreme Court, highlighting an “error” made by the lower courts, emphasized in its ruling that the accused cannot claim statutory bail once the chargesheet in the case has been filed and acknowledged. The court directed the lower court to reconsider the bail petition.
“We have no hesitation that the charge sheet having been filed and cognisance being taken in due time, respondents could not have claimed statutory bail as a right,” stated the bench of Justices Bela M Trivedi and S C Sharma.
As per the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), an accused is eligible for statutory bail if the investigative agency fails to submit the chargesheet within 60 or 90 days of concluding the investigation in a criminal case. In this instance, the CBI filed the chargesheet on the 88th day post the FIR registration. While the trial court granted default bail to the accused, the Delhi High Court upheld the order.
The Wadhawan brothers, taken into custody on July 19 last year, face allegations outlined in a complaint by the Union Bank of India. The FIR accuses DHFL, its then CMD Kapil Wadhawan, then Director Dheeraj Wadhawan, and other accomplices of engaging in a criminal conspiracy to defraud a consortium of 17 banks led by the Union Bank of India. The complaint contends that the accused manipulated the consortium into approving substantial loans, a significant portion of which was purportedly misappropriated through the falsification of DHFL’s financial records, as per the CBI’s assertions. The complainant alleges that the actions caused a wrongful loss of ₹34,615 crore to the consortium banks.