PMC scam accused to go home, panel set up for HDIL assets

Mumbai, Jan 15 (IANS) The Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the shifting of HDIL promoters Rakesh Kumar Wadhawan and his son Sarang R. Wadhawan, co-accused in the Punjab & Maharashtra Cooperative Bank Ltd. scam, from jail to their residence in Bandra.

A division bench comprising Justice R.V. More and Justice S.P. Tavade also set up a three-member committee headed by a retired High Court judge, Justice S. Radhakrishnan, to evaluate the encumbered assets of HDIL for sale to recover the company’s debts to the PMC Bank.

The Wadhawan duo will be kept at their residence under two jail guards to ensure their cooperation with the committee.

The retired judge will name the other two committee members and the court has sought a status report on it at the next hearing on April 30.

“We are conscious of the plight of lakhs of depositors who have deposited their hard earned money and life savings in the PMC Bank. The respondents (Wadhawans) are instrumental in the huge fraud perpetrated by them through HDIL and their group companies,” the court said.

Accordingly, the ex-judge S. Radhakrishnan-headed committee will first evaluate and sell the HDIL’s encumbered properties, and if there is a shortfall in recovering the PMC Bank’s dues, then the properties owned by the Wadhawans shall be disposed of.

However, in case there is a further shortfall, then the HDIL group’s unencumbered assets shall be sold to recover the dues, said the court.

The HDIL’s Vice-Chairman and Managing Director Sarang R. Wadhawan has already filed an affidavit enumerating the Group’s encumbered and unencumbered assets and also informed the court that he had no objection if the company’s encumbered assets are disposed of to recover the PMC Bank’s dues.

HDIL counsel Vikram Chaudhri informed the court that while the PMC Bank’s dues are around Rs 4,355 crore, the encumbered assets of the company alone are worth around Rs 11,000 crore and would be sufficient to repay the bank’s outstandings.

The court’s orders came on a public interest litigation filed by lawyer Sarosh Damania seeking expeditious disposal of the HDIL Group assets, attached by the Mumbai Police Economic Offences Wing and the Enforcement Directorate, to repay the PMC Bank depositors at the earliest.

The PMC Bank scam first broke out in late-September 2019 after which the Reserve Bank of India had imposed severe restrictions on withdrawals by the depositors.

Since then, there have been around 10 deaths, mainly of depositors or their kin, suffering as their life-savings were blocked in the crisis-ridden bank.


Indo Asian News Service

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