After picnic, party and quarantine, Wadhawan brothers now in CBI custody

The promoters of Diwan Housing Finance Limited (DHFL), who were in 14-day quarantine till April 22, have now been taken into custody by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), officials said on Sunday.

Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan are accused in the Yes Bank case and a CBI team took the brothers into custody from their home in Mahabaleshwar of Maharashtra’s Satara district. The duo will be produced before the Special CBI Court in Mumbai for further custody in the case, the CBI said in an official statement.

Sources told India Today that Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan had a stay on their non-bailable arrest warrant till May 5 but the agency got the order vacated on Saturday from the court and took them into custody. This was confirmed by the CBI later.

“We have executed the non-bailable warrant issued against Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan,” a source had said.

In its official statement, the CBI said, “Both the accused, Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan were absconding since beginning of the investigation and evaded joining investigation. Accordingly, the CBI Special Court, Mumbai had issued NBW (non-bailable arrest warrant) against them on MArch 17 on a petition filed by the CBI. Even after the issuance of NBW, they have not appeared before the CBI or the Court.”

The statement added, “On April 9, an information was received by CBI that both the accused were located in Satara district and lodged at a government institutional quarantine centre in Panchgani. Thereafter, an email was immediately sent to the DM and SP of Satara for not releasing them without NOC from the CBI or order of the court, and taking other necessary steps to prevent the accused persons from absconding.”

The Wadhawan family, DHLF promoters, accused in the Yes Bank case were released from the quarantine facility in Panchgani and were asked to stay at their home in Mahabaleshwar from where they were detained on April 9.

After completion of the 14-day quarantine period, all 23 members including Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan, were released from the facility. The Wadhawan family was directed by government authorities to not leave the Satara district without permission from the CBI.

On April 9, Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan were detained in Mahabaleshwar, a hill station in Maharashtra. Taking note of the matter, the CBI had written a letter to the District Magistrate of Satara asking him not to allow the Wadhawans to leave the quarantine facility without the probe agency’s permission.

Anil Deshmukh, the Home Minister of Maharashtra, confirmed that the state provided assistance to the CBI in arresting the Wadhawans.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), which also wants to question the Wadhawan brothers, is in touch with authorities in Satara and is keeping a close watch on developments as well.

The DHFL promoters came to the lime light when probe agencies had issued multiple summons to the Wadhawans to join the probe in the Yes Bank case but they refused to appear for questioning, arguing that they can’t appear due to the spread of novel coronavirus in Mumbai.

In their reply to the ED’s request to join probe on March 17, the Wadhawan brothers had said that in the prevailing scenario in the country, health is the first priority.

However on April 9, it was found that the duo along with other family members have been travelling in Maharashtra since mid-March and have been using coronavirus crisis as an excuse.

The CBI is probing the Wadhawan brothers in the Yes Bank case on allegations that DHFL received Rs 3,700 crore of investment in exchange for paying Rs 600 crore as bribes to firms related to family members of Yes Bank founder Rana Kapoor. The ED is also probing this case.

The ED is also probing DHFL and its promoters in connection with the Iqbal Mirchi property case.

The presence of the Wadhawan brothers in Mahabaleshwar came to light when other family members and their domestic help reached their bungalow in the hill station. Seeing them, the locals reportedly alerted the police. The officer who allegedly provided them permission to travel has been sent on leave and an investigation has been ordered by the Uddhav Thackeray government.

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