Skipping three summons of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited (DHFL)’s Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan have cited COVID-19 pandemic for their non-appearance in connection with the money laundering probe against Yes Bank founder Rana Kapoor and others, officials said on Wednesday.

The Wadhawan brothers, who denied any wrongdoing in their dealings with the bank, were supposed to appear before the central agency on Tuesday at its office in south Mumbai. The ED has summoned them thrice, with the first communication for deposition sent on March 10.

DHFL chief Kapil Wadhawan and non-executive director of the company Dheeraj Wadhawan are already being probed by the agency as part of a separate money laundering case related to Mumbai gangster Iqbal Mirchi. Kapil Wadhawan, 47, was also arrested by the agency in the Iqbal Mirchi case, but is currently out on bail.

Their role is now being probed by the ED in the criminal case filed against Rana Kapoor for receiving alleged kickbacks, through companies purportedly controlled by his family, for going slow on bad loans, extended by his bank to some big corporates.

“I have been travelling due to health related issues, which I have mentioned in my earlier letters along with my doctor’s certificate and of which you are also aware. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, with my already compromised health and age, I am at high risk and consequently for my own health and safety it is difficult for me to travel back to Mumbai,” Kapil Wadhawan said in a letter to ED.

Further, he wrote, it was a government directive to curtail travel in view of the current environment of coronavirus. Kapil Wadhawan said the “entire process was in accordance with the SEBI guidelines and at no point were there any allegations about any preferential allotment to Yes Bank.”

He argued that as the Enforcement Directorate has all the documents related to the new case, he is not able to understand as to what “assistance” can he give to the agency by appearing before it. He also asked the agency to provide him a “questionnaire” on the latest charges so that he can respond to them.

“Further, the allegations with regard to the loans disbursed to DoIT being a kickback to Rana Kappor are incorrect. As far as I can recall, with respect to the loan of Rs 600 crore, there were six immovable properties that were offered as security and over which mortgages were created,” Kapil Wadhawan said.

His brother Dheeraj Wadhawan has also taken a similar plea and mentioned identical grounds in his communication to the ED stating that “in today’s circumstance in the country, health is a priority”.