On Wednesday, the Supreme Court overturned a Delhi High Court decision that had granted default bail to Kapil Wadhawan and his brother Dheeraj Wadhawan, former promoters of Dewan Housing Finance Limited (DHFL).
The Wadhawan brothers were arrested in connection with a multi-crore bank loan scam case. Justices Bela M Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal stated that the chargesheet against the accused was filed within the stipulated time, and the relevant trial court had acknowledged the charges promptly.
Consequently, the Supreme Court ruled that the Wadhawan brothers could not assert statutory bail as a right.
The court nullified the orders of both the trial court and the Delhi High Court that had previously granted default or statutory bail to the duo.
In July 2022, both individuals were apprehended by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on accusations related to a ₹34,615-crore bank fraud case. A chargesheet was submitted in October 2022, encompassing them and other suspects. However, it noted that further investigation was ongoing on specific aspects.
The allegations centered around Kapil Wadhawan, Dheeraj Wadhwan, and other accomplices purportedly engaging in a criminal conspiracy to defraud a consortium of seventeen banks, headed by Union Bank of India. The complaint asserted that the accused manipulated the consortium banks into approving loans amounting to ₹42,871.42 crore. A substantial portion of this sum was allegedly embezzled through the falsification of DHFL’s books. Additionally, dishonest default in repaying the legitimate dues to the consortium banks was alleged.
The complaint further claimed that between January 2010 and December 2019, the consortium banks suffered a wrongful loss of ₹34,615.00 crore. Seeking bail, the Wadhawan brothers contended, in a Delhi court, that despite over 60 days passing since their arrest, the investigation was incomplete. They argued for statutory bail under Section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedures (CrPC).
Initially, in October 2022, a Delhi trial court rejected their bail plea. However, in November 2022, a special court acknowledged the charges against various individuals implicated in the DHFL scam, including the Wadhawan brothers. On December 3, 2022, a Delhi trial court granted the Wadhwan brothers default bail, citing that the chargesheet submitted by the CBI within the prescribed time was incomplete.
In May 2023, the Delhi High Court affirmed the trial court’s decision, upholding the bail order for the Wadhawan brothers. The High Court deemed the sessions court’s ruling as being “grounded in sound reasoning and logic.”
Subsequently, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) contested these judgments before the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has now accepted the appeal and directed the revocation of default bail granted to the Wadhawan brothers.
As a result, the Court has instructed the immediate apprehension of the duo.
During these proceedings, the CBI was represented by Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, while Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi appeared on behalf of the Wadhawan brothers.