The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to grant bail to former Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Chander Prakash Wadhwa of the Amrapali Group on medical grounds and ordered the lower court to issue charges, if any, against him.
A bench of judges UU Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat and PS Narasimha who had previously ordered the constitution of the medical council to examine Wadhwa said: “The report in question has been filed. It shows that the council consisting of the chief medical superintendent and the Department Heads of Neurology, Orthopedic Surgery, Cardiology and Medicine were members of the board. After examination of the applicant, the report was prepared by the board. As stated in the report, the applicant’s medical condition is quite stable”.
The bench noted that lead counsel Aman Lekhi, representing Mr Wadhwa, argued the bail application on the merits.
While noting that the indictment was filed in three cases, the bench said: “It appears that in the three complaints that were filed by the ED, the petitioner is the only natural person who is named as accused outside the legal persons in the third complaint”.
The bench said that, as the records show, Mr. Wadhwa has already served one year and four months of effective detention.
He issued a series of instructions, “The three complaints of the ED must be taken up for the formulation of charges, if any, immediately. The accused must appear before the relevant court on April 5, 2022 to facilitate the exercise of formulating charges. Matters will be considered seriously. The petitioner shall be free to apply for bail in the event that charges are brought against the petitioner.”
The bench said the matter and the stage of bringing charges, if any, will be considered solely on the basis of merit.
“If an opportunity arises for the petitioner to apply for bail, in terms of instructions, it will also be considered on its own merits,” he said, while rejecting Wadhwa’s appeal against the order of the Allahabad High Court.
Earlier on March 14, the High Court ordered Wadhwa to appear before the medical board of four medical professionals at King George Medical University, Lucknow within seven days.
He had said that the medical board would review it and provide appropriate certification regarding Wadhwa’s current medical condition and suggested or advised line of treatment.
The higher court had requested the medical report within three days of the examination. The high court followed up on the case linked to the real estate company after many home buyers approached alleging professional misconduct and the non-delivery of houses or apartments.
Former Amrapali group managers Anil Kumar Sharma, Shiv Priya and Ajay Kumar are behind bars by order of the higher court.
Mr. Wadhwa and Anil Mittal, auditor of the Amrapali group of companies, were also arrested in connection with the case.
Those arrested are said to have been instrumental in the creation of a large number of shell companies to divert funds from homebuyers by employing people known to them as directors or appointing them to key management positions in these companies.
The High Court, in its July 23, 2019 verdict, cracked the whip on errant builders for breaching the trust of homebuyers and ordered the cancellation of the Amrapali Group’s registration under the Real Estate Law RERA and had forced him out of prime properties in the NCR by canceling land leases.
The High Court had ordered a Law Enforcement Branch investigation into alleged money laundering by estate agents, offering relief to more than 42,000 Amrapali Group home buyers with the verdict.
The higher court, which tries to provide funds for stalled projects, then ordered the state-run NBCC to complete stalled Amrapali Group projects.
On December 10 last year, the High Court in Allahabad denied bail to Wadhwa, who has been in jail for around 16 months after being arrested in December 2020 in the money laundering case. against him.