Guest house

ABIL Group President will be kept at CBI guesthouse until May 30, Real Estate News, ET RealEstate

MUMBAI: A special court here on Friday ordered Avinash Bhosale, chairman of Pune-based real estate group ABIL, to be detained at the CBI guesthouse in Mumbai until May 30 because he could not pass an order on the investigative agency’s plea asking for his dismissal, a day after his arrest in an alleged corruption case, since the hearing took place after working hours.

A decision on the plea for dismissal could also not be made as the CBI requested time to file a written response to objections raised by the estate agent about the legality of his arrest. Bhosale was arrested by the Central Investigation Agency on Thursday in an alleged corruption case involving Yes Bank founder Rana Kapoor and Kapil Wadhawan of Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd (DHFL).

The CBI suspects that illicit funds were funneled through several Maharashtra-based property companies. The CBI brought him before Special Judge DP Singhade on Friday and requested his pretrial detention for ten days, arguing that his questioning in custody was necessary to unearth a deep-rooted conspiracy linked to the case and to determine the end use of the public funds allegedly embezzled by the businessman.

The central agency said that the judicial investigation into the case was continuing and that a number of documents were to be collected from various authorities and witnesses from different sections of society were to be interviewed.

“Avinash Nivritti Bhosale is required for a confrontation with the incriminating evidence that is emerging against him and also with the witnesses/suspects in the case,” the agency said in its dismissal plea.

Therefore, his detailed questioning in custody is required in this case, which involves complex and voluminous financial transactions in a well-planned modus operandi adopted by the defendant for embezzlement of public funds, the CBI said.

The custody was necessary to unearth the deep-rooted conspiracy, to determine the end use of embezzled public funds and related matters highly relevant to the case, with clearance to smuggle the accused out of Mumbai and Maharashtra to for investigative purposes, he said.

On the other hand, Barristers Vijay Agarwal, Rahul Agarwal and Dhawal Mehta, appearing for Bhosale, filed written objections, opposing the plea for dismissal under the provisions of the Criminal Handbook issued by the Bombay High Court.

Vijay Agarwal raised a series of objections and questioned the legality of his client’s arrest. He pointed out that after the filing of the indictment and the supplementary indictment in the case, charges were brought against two defendants.

In view of this, it is clear that the trial in the present case has begun and no further investigation could have been conducted thereafter, Vijay Agarwal argued in court. The lawyer relied on several judgments of the HC and the Supreme Court to press his arguments.

Special Public Prosecutor Jitendra Kumar Sharma, representing the CBI, asked the court for time to file a written response to objections raised by defense attorneys. Another request was made by the defendant for some relief if he was sent into CBI custody.

Such a plea can only be decided after an order is issued on the dismissal application, the court said. There have also been heated discussions between defense and prosecution lawyers over where to keep Bhosale until the court decides on the plea for dismissal, with the defendant raising questions about the legality of his arrest.

Vijay Agarwal suggested that the accused be placed under house arrest at his residence or in a five-star hotel until May 30 under the supervision of the investigator in charge of the case. The cost of the hotel stay would be borne by the businessman, he said. However, the special prosecutor argued that the accused could be detained at CBI’s guest house in BKC, a business district in the suburbs of Mumbai.

The defense accepted the suggestion, but prayed that lawyers would be allowed to visit him for one hour for two days. The tribunal, after hearing both parties, said that due to special circumstances and taking into account that hearing time was over and also public holidays on May 28 and 29 (Saturday and Sunday), the CBI has until Monday to submit its response.

The judge ordered the defendant to be kept at the CBI guest house, as suggested by the investigative agency. He allowed defense lawyers Vijay Agarwal and Dhawal Mehta to meet with their client between 5pm and 6pm over two days (Saturday and Sunday).

Before arresting Bhosale, the CBI had raided the premises of reputable builders in Maharashtra on April 30 as part of an investigation into the case. The premises of ABIL and Bhosale were also raided during the operation.

The CBI had recently arrested Sanjay Chhabria of Radius Developers in this case. The agency alleged that Kapoor entered into a criminal conspiracy with Wadhawan to provide financial assistance to DHFL through Yes Bank in exchange for substantial improper benefits to himself and his family members through companies owned by them.

According to the CBI FIR, the scam began to take shape between April and June 2018, when Yes Bank invested Rs 3,700 crore in short-term debentures of DHFL. In return, Wadhawan allegedly “paid a bribe of Rs 600 crore” to Kapoor and his family members in the form of a loan.