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Yes Bank case: How the Bombay High Court’s interpretation of chargesheet deadline meant bail for DHFL’s Wadhawan brothers

The High Court went by its own precedent, set last month, which said the 60 days for submission of a chargesheet begin from the day an arrested accused is produced for remand. The earlier norm was to exclude the day remand was ordered. The Supreme Court, too, has ruled that the date of remand has to be excluded.

August 20, 2020 / 07:54 PM IST
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The Bombay High Court has granted bail to former Dewan Housing Finance Limited (DHFL) promoters Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan in the Yes Bank case. The Wadhawans are the main accused in the case.

The duo were granted bail by Justice Bharati Dangre citing late filing of the chargesheet by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). A chargesheet had to be filed within 60 days of the arrest.

The ED, however, insists it had filed part of the chargesheet by e-mail a day before the sixty-day period ended. The Wadhawan brothers had been arrested on May 14 by the Directorate.

Despite the reprieve, however, the Wadhawans will remain in Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) custody, in its Yes Bank case.

An ED source told Moneycontrol: “Enforcement Directorate had filed part of the chargesheet on July 11 via e-mail, a day before the completion of 60 days. Actually 60 days were completed on July 12, a Sunday. The main chargesheet was filed on July 13.”

Different interpretation

An ED lawyer told Moneycontrol: “The Bombay High Court went by the precedent set by a July 29 order of another Bench of the same court. The precedent held that the stipulated 60 days for submission of a chargesheet begin from the day an arrested accused is produced for remand. Until now, the practice was to exclude the day of the grant of remand from the count of 60 days.”

However, another source told Moneycontrol: “In the past, the Supreme Court ruling in  two different cases, State of Madhya Pradesh versus Rustom and State of Bihar versus Ravi Prakash, clearly stated that the date of remand has to be excluded while calculating 60/90 days for a chargesheet.”

Sherbir Panag, white-collar crime expert and founding partner, Panag & Babu, told Moneycontrol that bail is generally the norm in Indian law. "Bail is a matter of right, with jail being the exception — this is the cornerstone of our jurisprudence. It is immaterial whether the bail is in cases of white-collar crime or otherwise as long as the requisites of law are met.”

“Bail does not impact the prosecution's case and more so the prosecution's case must be about securing a conviction and not merely an arrest. This should also be a nudge to our enforcement authorities to ensure time-bound investigations,” Panag added.

The first ED chargesheet named eight persons and entities Rana Kapoor, his wife Bindu Kapoor, daughters Rakhee, Roshni and Radha, as well as Morgan Credit Pvt Ltd, Yes India Capital Pvt Ltd and Rab Enterprises, owned and controlled by Kapoor's family.

The second chargesheet named DHFL promoter Kapil Wadhawan, DHFL Non-Executive Director Dheeraj Wadhawan, Rana Kapoor, his wife Bindu Kapoor, daughters Radha Kapoor, Roshni Kapoor, Rekha Kapoor, Chartered Accountant Dhulresh Jain and the entities Doit Urban Ventures Pvt Ltd, Rab Enterprises, Morgan credit Pvt Ltd, DHFL, Kyta Advisors Ltd, RKW Developers, Belief Realty, Yes Capital Pvt Ltd, Golden Western Ltd, Samapti trading Pvt Ltd and Valencia Developers.

Tarun Sharma
first published: Aug 20, 2020 04:47 pm