Justice Bharati Dangre granted them bail as the Enforcement Directorate failed to file its charge sheet in the case within the stipulated 60-day period.
The Bombay high court on Thursday granted bail to DHFL promoters Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan, accused of money laundering by the Enforcement Directorate in the multi-crore Yes Bank fraud case, saying mandatory default bail is the sequel to non-filing of charge sheet.
The brothers, however, will remain in jail as they have also been booked by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the same case.
Justice Bharati Dangre granted them bail as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) failed to file its charge sheet in the case within the stipulated 60-day period.
The court noted that there is a period prescribed in law for filing of the charge sheet, and an accused cannot be kept in custody even for a day after that stipulated time and they have the right to default bail.
Mandatory default bail is a sequel to non-filing of the charge sheet, Justice Dangre said in the order, and directed the duo to furnish a surety of Rs 1 lakh each and surrender their passports.
An accused can seek default bail if the investigating agency fails to file charge sheet against him or her in the case within the period prescribed under section 167 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for ED, sought the court to stay its order for two weeks so that the agency could appeal in the Supreme Court.
Justice Dangre, however, refused and said once the right of default bail is due, the accused cannot be kept in custody thereafter even for a day.
"There is no starting point or end point for the authorities to complete their action, but if the investigation is not completed and charge sheet is not filed within the prescribed time, a right accrues to the accused to be released on bail,” the order said.
Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan, promoters of the Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd (DHFL), had sought bail saying the ED failed to file its charge sheet within the stipulated period of 60 days.
They were arrested by the ED on May 14 this year on money laundering charges.
The Enforcement Directorate filed its charge sheet on July 15 against the Wadhawans, Yes Bank founder Rana Kapoor, his wife Bindu Kapoor, daughters Roshni and Rekha, and their chartered accountant firm Dularesh K Jain and Associate.
The ED had initiated proceedings in the case after the CBI registered an FIR on March 7, 2020 in connection with alleged suspicious loans granted by Yes Bank and the 'quid pro quo' between Rana Kapoor and the Wadhawans.
According to the CBI and ED, Yes Bank invested around Rs 3,700 crore in short term non-convertible debentures of DHFL between April and June 2018.
Rane Kapoor allegedly received Rs 600 crore as kickbacks from DHFL in terms of loan advanced to two firms -- DOIT Urban Ventures (India) Private Limited and Morgan Credits Private Limited.
As per the probe agencies, Rana Kapoor's daughters hold 100 per cent stake in DOIT and his wife controls Morgan Credits.
Photograph: Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters