Pune: A special court on Friday extended the police custody of real estate developer DS Kulkarni and his wife Hemanti in connection with the cheating of over 4,300 investors to the tune of Rs 325 crore till March 1.
As per court order, he was produced before the medical board of Sassoon Hospital on Friday morning and later, he was kept at Yerwada Central Jail (as accused under judicial custody are kept there).
Sassoon Hospital Dean Dr Ajay Chandanwale said, “The patient needs regular monitoring of blood pressure and blood sugar level. He was found to be well conscious and well oriented.”
Later in the evening, ACP Nilesh More, the investigating officer from the Crime Branch's Economic Offences Wing (EOW), produced Hemanti before the court on expiry of her police custody.
“The medical board has given a report that Kulkarni's condition is normal and there is no need to keep him in the hospital and that he is fit for enquiry,” the remand report stated.
Special public prosecutor Praveen Chavan argued, “Hemanti is not co-operating in the investigation. We need custodial interrogation of Kulkarni to get information about various properties built using depositors' money and find out his accomplices roles. He had floated six partnership firms between 1985 and 2015 and lured people with lucrative returns on their investments. All these schemes were started by taking requisite permissions from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The couple had transferred the funds to their personal accounts from these firms. The EOW have attached two electronic lockers but the Kulkarnis are not providing information about the keys. They have also hidden the properties' papers.”
As per the remand report, the forensic audit preliminary report has stated that the DSK Group had taken Rs 1,153 crore as fixed deposit and the unsecured loan from depositors. Between 2010-11 and 2015-16,
Rs 438.22 crore was transferred to Hemanti's account and out of it Rs 34.88 crore were further transferred to account of their son Shirish Deepak Kulkarni, who is accused number 3 in the case. Shirish had used that money to purchase land at Takve in Haveli taluka and he has rented that land to DSK Motowheels for Rs 48 lakh per month. Hemanti had further transferred Rs 134 crore to Shirish between 2010 and 2017. As per the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) website, DSK Group Of Companies have taken Rs 2,892 crore loan.
Defence lawyer Shivde opposed the demand for police custody on the ground that the police have got all details and Hemanti had been in their custody for seven days. “Kulkarni's condition is not stable that he can face police interrogation. The police can use third degree also on my client. Who will be responsible if he dies in custody? The investigating officer (IO) must give an affidavit or undertaking that he will be responsible if anything happens to Kulkarni,” Shivde argued.
After hearing both sides, the judge extended the couple's police custody till March 1.
Shivde further requested the court that Kulkarni should be taken to Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital in case of any medical emergency as Sassoon Hospital does not have proper facilities and their doctors are not reliable.
Though the public prosecutor and the judge assured of 'best medical treatment available', Shivde insisted on Kulkarni's treatment at Deenanath Hospital in case of any emergency.
Finally, the judge ordered, “In case of medical emergency, accused 1 (Kulkarni) should be given best medical treatment available preferably at Deenanath Hospital.”
Soon after the court order, EOW took Kulkarni in custody.
“Under magisterial custody remand (MCR), also called judicial custody, accused are kept at Yerwada Central Jail here. We have now taken him into police custody,” ACP More told Sakal Times.