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Mumbai: Observing that the growing Covid-19 pandemic cannot be made a smokescreen to evade the custodial interrogation of Dheeraj and Kapil Wadhawan, the Bombay High Court has refused to grant any interim protection to the duo.

The duo has been named in a criminal case, lodged in Lucknow for siphoning off crores of rupees from the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL).

A bench of Justice Bharati Dangre also said that just because the Wadhawans claim to be "unhealthy" or vulnerable to getting infected with coronavirus, the process of law could not be avoided.

According to the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the Wadhawans-promoted Diwan Housing Finance Limited (DHFL) received a huge amount of illegal investment/proceeds generated from the illegal act of the officials of UPPCL and this amount was further laundered and layered into the financial system and invested in Its other business activities including that of financing.

In their defence, Wadhawans through senior counsel Prasad Dhake phalkar claimed that they went to Mahabaleshwar to reduce the stress, they were suffering from the ongoing litigation. And after that, they were home quarantined as the lockdown was announced.

Having considered the contentions, Justice Dangre said, "The seriousness of the economic offences and its deleterious impact on the national economy needs to be viewed seriously and considered as grave offences affecting the economy of the country as a whole and posing a serious threat to financial health of the country."

The bench in its orders noted that DHFL has received huge amount of illegal investment and proceeds generated from the brazenly violated action of the officials of UPPCL.

"The growing pandemic of Covid-19 cannot be made a smokescreen to evade their (Wadhawans) custodial interrogation. Though they have claimed to have followed due process of law and have played a role as a diligent and law-abiding citizen, I do not propose to delve into it deeper as it may raise more eyebrows," Justice Dangre remarked.

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