A Delhi court Thursday ordered the release of an AgustaWestland helicopter which was seized during the investigation into the multi-crore bank loan scam case involving former DHFL promoters Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan.
The helicopter was seized on July 30 by the CBI. It belongs to the applicant, Varva Aviation, which RKW Developers Pvt. Ltd, owned by the Wadhawan family, had joined in 2017.
The helicopter was purchased in 2011 for Rs 36 crore by Varva. Its present value is Rs 15.50 crore.
Allowing the release of the helicopter to Varva, Special Judge Ashwani Kumar Sarpal said: “If this helicopter is not released to the real owner, then it will become junk due to non use.” The court asked the applicant to prepare an FDR of Rs 1 crore for five years as security.
“The other owners who have 80 per cent share in this helicopter cannot be allowed to suffer simply due to the fact that 20 percent of the shareholding was allegedly obtained from the embezzled amount which was got by RKW Developers from DHFL,” said the court.
RKW Developers had acquired 20 per cent of the chopper’s ownership rights.
The court said if the helicopter is not released on superdari to the remaining owners and allowed to remain non operational during the trial which may go for several years, then “not only it will become unserviceable but also will become virtually a junk with no use.”
“No purpose will be served to keep the same in sealed position without allowing its operation during the trial. Furthermore, it is not possible to conceal such a big thing and is also not possible to take the same out of country without necessary permissions of the Government Agencies,” the court said.
It also noted that one CBI official “always remains at the site to look after the sealed helicopter and that is a wastage of man power.”
The court noted that M/s RKW Developers Pvt Ltd. acquired 20 percent of the ownership rights in the seized helicopter and made payment of Rs 9 crore to the applicant.
A sum of Rs 6.40 crores were paid for purchase of the share in the helicopter whereas Rs 2.60 crore was paid towards maintenance and operation cost, the court said.
According to the CBI, the amount of Rs 9 crore paid to purchase the share holding of the helicopter in question was a part of the embezzled amount that is why the CBI is opposing this application for release of the helicopter.
The applicant had sought the release of the helicopter stating it had accrued a maintenance cost of over Rs 44 lakh and Rs 26 lakhs has been incurred to only get it’s insurance.