New Delhi: The two promoters of Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited (DHFL) — Dheeraj Wadhawan and Kapil Wadhawan — facing money laundering charges in the Yes Bank case have refused to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) citing the coronavirus outbreak.
“…in today’s circumstances in the country, health is a priority”, both the promoters have said in their replies to the summons issued by the federal agency Monday. They were to appear before the agency Tuesday.
While Kapil Wadhawan has written to the ED citing his “already compromised health and age” amid the coronavirus outbreak for not joining the investigation, Dheeraj Wadhawan has pointed to a government directive curtailing travel “in the current environment of the coronavirus”.
Their letters are dated 17 March, Tuesday.
“Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, with my already compromised health and age I am at high risk, and consequently, for my own health and safety, it is difficult for me to travel back to Mumbai,” Kapil has stated in his reply to the ED.
“Further, the current environment of the COVID-19 virus pandemic, it is a government directive to curtail travel,” he added. “I would request you to appreciate that in today’s circumstances in the country, health is a priority.”
“The fact that as explained in my correspondence, I have been travelling and in the current environment of the coronavirus it is a government directive to curtail travel,” Dheeraj Wadhawan has written.
Both Kapil and Dheeraj were first issued summons by the ED on 10 March. They were to appear before the agency on 13 March. After they did not appear, fresh summons were then issued on 13 March. Another round of summons were then issued on 16 March.
The ED is investigating DHFL’s role in the Yes Bank crisis and its transactions to the tune of over Rs 3700 crore with the bank. The investigative agencies have alleged that DHFL paid kickbacks of Rs 600 crore to firms of Yes Bank founder Rana Kapoor’s family for the money.
Not a flight risk
Both Kapil and Dheeraj have also told the ED that they were not a flight risk and could be called in for clarification whenever required.
“You are aware that I am not a flight risk, as I have already deposited my passport with you, nor is there any concern or apprehension of me tampering or hampering the investigation,” Kapil’s letter reads.
“My past conduct will reflect that even without my custody you were able to complete your investigations,” it adds.
Dheeraj too told the ED that he should not be called in for questioning in the present situation. “I would request you to appreciate that in today’s circumstances in the country, health is a priority. You are aware that I am not a flight risk nor is there any concern or apprehension of tampering or hampering the investigations,” his letter read.
Why call us in for questioning now?
Kapil also said he was “surprised” to have received the summons from ED, having been already interrogated during investigation.
Dheeraj too said he did not appear on earlier summons as the investigation in relation to the matter had already been completed and all necessary and requisite information had already been provided.
“Why I was issued a summons in this matter when I had already been interrogated during investigation and even after filing of the complaint, when I was in your custody for 11 days and 15 days in judicial custody, where you did not come to interrogate me,” Kapil wrote.
Kapil also said the ED should inform him as to why his presence was required on 13 March, nearly three weeks after he was granted bail.
He added that he was “apprehensive that a false record was being built to suggest that I am not co-operating with the investigation”.
Dheeraj too told the ED that he may be “informed” why his presence was required. “I requested that, in these circumstances, I may be informed as to why my presence was required on 13 March, that is to say nearly five months after my last interrogation in the matter; three months after the filing of a criminal complaint and two months after my release on bail by furnishing of bond,” he wrote.
‘Nothing more to say’
Both Kapil and Dheeraj also told the ED that they had “nothing more to say” on the case but can assist from outside whenever required.
“I fail to understand what is the further assistance that I can give and why is it that such assistance must be given immediately,” Kapil wrote.
Dheeraj too said he has given all the required information to the agency and had nothing more to say. He, however, said ED can give him a questionnaire if they need any more clarifications.
“Your last summons mentions that you have already collected all the relevant materials and you want to interrogate me in respect of the material collected. If you provide me with a questionnaire, I am happy to facilitate your investigation by trying to respond to the same,” he said.
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