With former MD and CEO of Yes Bank Rana Kapoor under its custody for alleged money laundering and quid pro quo deals with various business groups, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned promoters of at least six leading corporates — Anil Ambani (ADA Reliance Group), Subhash Chandra (Essel Group), Kapil Wadhawan (DHFL/Wadhawan Group), Naresh Goyal (Jet Airways), Gautam Thapar (Avantha Group) and Peter Kerkar (Cox & Kings Group) — for questioning over the next five days.
Anil Ambani, who was called by the agency on Monday, sought more time citing personal reasons. He has now been asked to appear before the agency on March 19. ED sources said Yes Bank had extended loans to the tune of Rs 12,800 crore to nine companies of Anil Ambani.
“We are summoning representatives of all such companies that have taken big loans from Yes Bank, but defaulted on payments,” an ED official said. The agency wants to get more information on their total borrowing from Yes Bank, its terms and conditions, and the end use of funds.
According to sources, while DHFL’s Wadhawan has been asked to present himself at the ED office in Mumbai on Tuesday (March 17), Jet’s Goyal and Essel’s Chandra are learnt to have been called on Wednesday. Kerkar is likely present himself at the ED office on Thursday. Thapar has been called on Saturday, the sources said.
Last Saturday, Yes Bank had announced a sharp 19 per cent rise in its gross NPAs to Rs 40,709 crore for the quarter-ended December 2019. It had increased by just 2.1 per cent to Rs 5,158 crore in the corresponding quarter previous year.
On March 10, The Indian Express reported that Yes Bank’s exposure to 10 corporate houses amounted to around Rs 34,000 crore. Subhash Chandra’s Essel Group has borrowings of around Rs 8,000 crore from Yes Bank, Wadhawan Group Rs 4,700 crore, IL&FS Group Rs 2,500 crore, Jet Airways Rs 1,100 crore, Kerkar Group (Cox & Kings) Rs 1,000 crore and Avantha Group Rs 500 crore.
Responding to a query sent by The Indian Express, the Essel Group said, “Essel Group wishes to confirm that the Enforcement Directorate has requested Dr. Subhash Chandra’s presence on 18th March 2020, to make a statement on the information which is already available with them. Dr Chandra will certainly be present to make the statement and will be more than happy to extend any support or co-operation requested by ED. The Group wishes to clarify that most of the credit facilities were availed for its infrastructure business and there is no debt on ZEEL, ZMCL, etc. The Group also wishes to cite that all credit facilities availed were fully secured. The Group has never made any transactions with Mr Rana Kapoor or his family or for that matter any private entities controlled by them.”
According to PTI, Reliance Group had last week said in a statement that its entire debt from Yes Bank was fully secured and was availed in the ordinary course of business. “Reliance Group is committed to honouring repayments of all its borrowings from Yes Bank Ltd through its various asset monetisation programmes which are all at advanced stages,” the statement had said. The group stated that it has “nil direct or indirect exposure to Rana Kapoor, former CEO of Yes Bank, or his wife or daughters, or any entities controlled by Rana Kapoor or his family”.
Messages sent to Jet’s Goyal did not elicit any response. Kapil Wadhawan, Gautam Thapar and Peter Kerkar too did not respond to emails.
After arresting Rana Kapoor, the ED had, on March 11, declared in a special court in Mumbai that of the Rs 30,000 crore that Yes Bank sanctioned during his tenure, Rs 20,000 crore had turned into NPAs. The ED also alleged that it had found details of Rs 5,000 crore in kickbacks that Kapoor received while extending these loans.
Sources said the ED charges of quid pro quo were based on a forensic report by audit firm KPMG on DHFL, one of Yes Bank’s borrowers which is also under RBI moratorium. Kapoor was questioned by the ED over a Rs 600-crore loan from a DHFL firm to DoIT Urban Ventures (India) Private Ltd, a company owned by Kapoor’s family, at a time when Yes Bank had a loan exposure of over Rs 3,700 crore to DHFL.
ED investigations, sources said, have found that in many cases when loans became stressed assets and borrowers started defaulting, Kapoor either desisted from declaring them as NPAs or kept ever-greening them. In return, the agency has alleged, Kapoor took investments from these companies into firms owned by his wife and daughters.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines