Avantha Group promoter Gautam Thapar, who was arrested in connection with alleged misappropriation of a Rs 515 crore loan of Yes Bank, approached the Delhi High Court on Thursday, seeking regular bail in the case.
Thapar was arrested in August 2021 by the Enforcement Directorate on allegations of money laundering in connection with allegations of siphoning of funds granted by the bank in the form of a loan.
The bail application was filed under Section 439 of the Criminal Procedure Code, for grant of regular bail in a case registered by the Enforcement Directorate under the Prevention of the Money Laundering Act.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appeared on behalf of Thapar, and was briefed by a team from Karanjawala & Co led by its senior partner, advocate Sandeep Kapur, and comprising advocates Vir Sandhu, Vivek Suri, Niharika Karanjawala, Apoorva Pandey, Mridul Yadav, Abhimanshu Dhyani, Sahil Modi, and Kajal.
Rohatgi argued that there was no embezzlement of funds done by Avantha Group led by Thapar. The purpose of loan and usage of funds were structured by and were within the knowledge of the officials of Yes Bank and no fraud was committed by Thapar.
The loan amount was received through legal channels and all the transactions were documented, the documents related to the said transaction are already in the custody of the investigating agency, he added.
Further, Rohatgi submitted that the loan facility of Rs 515 crore sanctioned by the Yes Bank was secured by Oyster Buildwell Pvt Ltd with the appropriate collateral. The said collateral collectively amounted to over Rs 850 crore including CG Power shares worth Rs 728 crore and Jhabua Power Ltd shares worth Rs 126 crore, on the date of sanctioning of the loan facility.
He said that on the date of invocation of the collateral by Yes Bank, the collective value of CG Power shares and Jhabua Power Ltd shares was approximately Rs 606 crore. It was the sheer negligence of Yes Bank that led to the loss of money to their bank in terms of selling of CG shares, which is valued at around Rs 1,400 crore now.
Rohtagi also referred to the landmark judgment delivered by Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer in State of Rajasthan vs Balchand, AIR 1977 SC 2447 , where he laid down one of the basic rules of bail jurisprudence, i.e., “to provide bail and avoid jail time for the accused”.
The judgement has laid the foundation for a more lenient justice system and further referred to the order dated December 16, 2021 delivered by the apex court in case Satender Kumar Antil vs CBI which states that “We make it clear that our intent was to ease the process of bail and not to restrict it”.
The High Court, after hearing the arguments on behalf of Thapar, has now listed the matter for rebuttal arguments on behalf of the ED on January 17.