The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to grant bail to former Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Chander Prakash Wadhwa of Amrapali Group on medical ground and directed the trial court for framing of charges, if any, against him.
A bench of Justices UU Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat and PS Narasimha which had earlier directed for the constitution of the medical board to examine Wadhwa said, "The report in question has been placed on record. It shows that the board consisting of Chief Medical Superintendent and Heads of Department of Neurology, Orthopaedic surgery, cardiology and medicines were members of the board. After examining the petitioner, the report has been made by the board. As the report indicates, the medical condition of the petitioner is quite stable".
The bench noted that senior advocate Aman Lekhi, appearing for Mr Wadhwa, had argued the bail application on merit.
While noting that charge sheet has been filed in three cases, the bench said, "It appears that in all three complaints which have been filed by the ED the petitioner is the only natural person who is arrayed as accused apart from corporate entities in the third complaint".
The bench said that as records indicate that Mr Wadhwa has already completed one year and four months of actual custody.
It issued a slew of directions, "All the three complaints of the ED shall be taken up for framing of charges, if any, immediately. The accused shall be produced before the concerned court on April 5, 2022 to facilitate the exercise of framing of charges. The matters shall be considered in right earnest. The petitioner shall be at liberty to make the prayer for bail in case charges are framed against the petitioner".
The bench said that the matter and the stage of framing of charges, if any, shall be considered purely on the basis of merit.
"If any occasion for the petitioner arises to prefer an application for bail, in terms of directions, it shall also be considered on its own merits", it said, while dismissing the appeal of Wadhwa against the Allahabad High Court order.
Earlier on March 14, the top court had directed that Wadhwa shall be produced before the Medical Board consisting of four medical professionals from King George's Medical University, Lucknow within seven days.
It had said that the medical board shall examine him and appropriate certification about the present medical condition of Wadhwa and the line of treatment suggested or advised.
The top court had sought the medical report within three days of the examination. The top court has been monitoring the case related to the real estate company after many home buyers approached alleging malpractices and non-delivery of homes or flats.
Former group directors of Amrapali Anil Kumar Sharma, Shiv Priya, and Ajay Kumar are behind bars on the top court's order.
Mr Wadhwa and Anil Mittal, statutory auditor of the Amrapali group of companies were also arrested in connection with the case.
The arrested persons have allegedly been instrumental in creating a large number of bogus companies for diversion of funds of home buyers by employing persons known to them as directors or appointing them in key management posts in those companies.
The top court in its July 23, 2019, verdict had cracked the whip on errant builders for breaching the trust reposed by home buyers and ordered the cancellation of the registration of the Amrapali Group under real estate law RERA and ousted it from prime properties in the NCR by nixing the land leases.
The top court had directed a probe by the Enforcement Directorate into alleged money laundering by realtors, providing relief to over 42,000 home buyers of Amrapali Group with the verdict.
The top court, which is trying to bring in funds for the stalled projects, had then directed the state-run NBCC to complete the stalled projects of the Amrapali Group.
On December 10 last year, the Allahabad High Court had refused bail to Wadhwa, who is in jail for around 16 months after being arrested in December, 2020 in the money laundering case against him.