Can’t be Held Thapar is not Guilty: HC

Denying bail to Avantha Group promoter Gautam Thapar, the Delhi High Court has held that “on prima facie reading of material placed on record as well as gravity of the alleged offences, it cannot be held that Thapar is not guilty of the alleged offences or that he is not likely to commit any such offence while on bail”. A copy of the detailed order passed by the High Court was made available on Thursday. Thapar was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on charges of playing a “key role” in laundering more than Rs500 crore in a bank loan fraud case. He has been in custody since August 3, 2021.

The high court found little force in the defence raised by Thapar wherein he had claimed that his company was rather a victim of “fraud” played upon him by the officials of Yes Bank. The order reads that a “submission was made on behalf of Thapar that the market value of CG Power (company of Avantha Group) shares pledged with the bank, as on the date of invocation of pledge, was Rs480 crore and thus sufficient, along with other collaterals, to meet the loan obligation”. The order adds: “But, the bank by delaying the sale of pledged shares to July/August 2020 could realize only Rs105 crore, as by that time the value of the shares had eroded. It was submitted (by Thapar’s defense counsel) that under realization of the value of the shares due to lack of timely action by the bank has caused loss not only to the bank, but also to the applicant Thapar)”.

Finding no force in this defence, the high court ruled “the submission is specious for the purpose of the present proceedings. The bank may have been under a contractual obligation to mitigate losses in realization of the appropriate market value of the security held by it, however, its failure to do so does not negate the criminal liability of the accused (Thapar)”.

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