Bail Cannot Be Denied Only Because A Person Is Accused Of An Economic Offence: HC

Bail Cannot Be Denied Only Because A Person Is Accused Of An Economic Offence: HC

HC grants bail to Avinash Bhosale on DHFL-Yes Bank case against Rs1 lakh personal bond

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Saturday, May 18, 2024, 12:32 AM IST
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Bombay High Court | PTI

Mumbai: While granting bail to Pune- based builder Avinash Bhosale, the Bombay High Court has observed that bail need not be denied only because the person is accused of an economic offence.

Justice NJ Jamadar granted bail to Bhosale in the Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd-Yes Bank in the corruption case being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), on furnishing a personal bond of Rs1 lakh. 

Bhosale, chairman and founder of ABIL Group was arrested by the CBI  on May 26, 2022 and at present is in judicial custody. However he has been admitted to a hospital for medical treatments. 

The bench noted that it was not an “immutable rule of law that the accused be denied bail in serious economic offences”. “The parameters which govern the grant of bail in other categories of offences equally govern the case where a person is accused of an economic offence,” Justice Jamadar said. 

The judge said that while the court ought to be cognizant of the fact that the economic offences have serious ramifications, however, where other parameters are fulfilled, bail need not be denied on the score that the person is accused of an economic offence.

“In the light of the prima facie consideration of the prosecution case, the amount of alleged fraud attributable to the applicant gets significantly scaled down. That bears on the gravity of the allegation,” Justice Jamadar added. 

Also, the investigation in the case is complete and three chargesheets have been filed already, the court said. Further, Bhosale has been in custody since two years and is facing prosecution for offences such as cheating, criminal conspiracy and criminal breach of trust by a public servant under the Indian Penal Code and under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. 

Applicability of the offence punishable under Section 409 of IPC [criminal breach of trust by a public servant], qua the role attributed to the applicant, appears contentious, the court added. “The applicant (Bhosale) cannot be prima facie roped in for the offence punishable under Section 409 of IPC which entails punishment of imprisonment for life,” the judge said in a detailed order. 

The court said whether Bhosale can be roped in for having abetted commission of offences by a public servant punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act would be a question which deserves determination at the trial, it added.

According to the CBI, Bhosale received kickbacks from Yes Bank founder Rana Kapoor, also an accused in the case, in return for diverting funds. Rana Kapoor had disbursed Rs3,983 crore to DHFL, which were proceeds of crime. Of this amount, DHFL sanctioned and disbursed loans aggregating to Rs2,420 crore to three group concerns of Radius Group, headed by Sanjay Chhabria, also an accused in the case.

Bhosale allegedly received Rs350 crore kickbacks from Radius group for facilitating loans from DHFL in the form of consultancy services payments, CBI claimed. 

Bhosale had, however, contended that the allegations are misconceived and that they were all legitimate business transactions. 

The Directorate of Enforcement (ED)  is also probing the alleged money laundering case against Bhosale. 

Bhosale has also filed a petition challenging  his “illegal” arrest by the central agencies, which is pending hearing. 

During the major part of his custody he was admitted in different hospitals and presently he is admitted at St George's Hospital. The  agency had in April 2022 conducted searches at eight locations in Mumbai and Pune at the residences and offices of suspects in connection with the Yes Bank-DHFL case. Among the places searched were properties linked to Avinash Bhosale and ABIL. 

The central agency had arrested Rane Kapoor and DHFL promoters Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan, claiming that they had entered into a criminal conspiracy through which financial assistance was extended to DHFL in lieu of substantial undue benefit to Kapoor and his family members.

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