Delhi court rejects bail of Ajay Ramesh Nawandar in DHFL loan fraud case

The Rouse Avenue Court in the national capital has dismissed the bail application of Chhota Shakeel’s aide Ajay Ramesh Nawandar, who was arrested by the CBI in connection with the Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited (DHFL) loan fraud case of Rs 34,615 crore involving the former DHFL directors Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan.

Nawandar was arrested by the CBI as the paintings worth Rs 30 crore and jewellery worth Rs 1.3 crore were recovered from him.

Nawandar through his counsel senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, had moved the bail plea before the court.

Pahwa argued that only paintings were recovered from his clients and thus it was only a case of Section 411 of the IPC and there was no need to keep his client behind bars.

“The recovery doesn’t make him a participant in the entire conspiracy to defraud the bank of the loan amounts. The police custody of my client of eight days was obtained. And there was no need to keep him behind the bar,” Nawandar’s counsel said.

The CBI’s counsel argued that a large amount of public fund was siphoned off and there were high possibilities of the accused tampering with the evidences or influencing the witnesses.

“The paintings worth Rs 30 crore and Rs 1.3 crore in cash recovered from Dheeraj Wadhawan was hinting towards a wider conspiracy. The accused was involved in disposing of articles purchased with siphoned-off loan amounts. The mobile phone seized by us also indicates that he received Rs 1.2 crore from Dheraj Wadhawan. He is an influential person engaged in liaison work,” the CBI said while highlighting a number of points from the case dairies.

One of the highlighted portions of case dairies was the disclosure statements of the accused. It was mentioned that the accused with the help of his nephew Siddharth Ladhe, Sunny Bhatija (brother-in-law of Dheeraj Wadhawan) and Deepak Kapoor (aide of Dheeraj Wadhawan) attempted to dispose of the paintings.

The court dismissed the bail plea of Nawandar.

“The accused prima facie being complicit at some stage of the handling/diversion of the humongous funds originating from the loans, a strong likelihood of him tampering with evidence and the foreseeable possibility of him influencing witnesses if admitted to bail,” the court noted while dismissing the bail.

Former DHFL directors Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan were arrested by the central probe agency and were brought to Delhi from Lucknow.

On Wednesday, they were produced before Delhi’s Rouse Avenue Court which sent them to three-day CBI custody.

“Wadhawan and others induced the consortium banks to sanction huge loans aggregating to Rs 42,871.42 crore and siphoned off and misappropriated a significant portion of the said funds by falsifying the books of the DHFL and dishonestly defaulted on repayment of the legitimate dues of the said consortium banks. That caused a wrongful loss of Rs 34,615 crore to the consortium lenders,” said the CBI.

The CBI after conducting an inquiry lodged the case under sections 120-B read with 409, 420, 477-A of the IPC and Section 13(2) read with sections 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The FIR was lodged against DHFL, its former CMD Kapil Wadhawan, MD Dheeraj Wadhwan, present Director Sudhakar Shetty, Amaryllis Realtors LLP (ARLLP), Gulmarg Realtors LLP (GRLLP), Skylark Buildcon Pvt. Ltd, Darshan Developers Pvt. Ltd, Sigtia Constructions Pvt. Ltd, Creator Builders Pvt. Ltd, Township Developers Pvt. Ltd, Shishir Reality Pvt. Ltd, Sunblink Real Estate Pvt. Ltd and other unknown persons, including public servants.

A CBI official said that it found that the DHFL promoters had allegedly diverted the funds and made investments in various entities.

It was also alleged that the promoters had acquired expensive paintings and sculptures worth about Rs 55 crore using the diverted funds.

Earlier, searches were conducted on June 22 at 12 locations in Mumbai at the premises of the accused which led to recovery of incriminating documents.

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