Report accuses DHFL of ‘siphoning off’ more than Rs 31,000 crore of public moneyhttps://indianexpress.com/article/business/cobrapost-report-accuses-dhfl-of-siphoning-off-more-than-rs-31000-crore-of-public-money-5560377/

Report accuses DHFL of ‘siphoning off’ more than Rs 31,000 crore of public money

Cobrapost alleged that the scam has been pulled off mainly by sanctioning and disbursing funds in secured and unsecured loans to dubious shell companies, which have in turn passed the money on to companies controlled by the Wadhawans, the chief promoters of DHFL.

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The website also alleged that DHFL advanced monies to several companies in Gujarat and Karnataka around state elections, and also gave donations to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Investigative news website Cobrapost on Tuesday alleged that it has “unearthed a financial scam to the tune of more than Rs 31,000 crore” through which the “primary promoters of Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited (DHFL) and their associate companies have committed a systemic fraud” to siphon off public money.

Cobrapost alleged that the scam has been pulled off mainly by sanctioning and disbursing funds in secured and unsecured loans to dubious shell/pass-through companies, related to DHFL’s own primary stakeholders Kapil Wadhawan, Aruna Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan through their proxies and associates, which have in turn passed the money on to companies controlled by the Wadhawans.

“The money has been used to buy shares/equity and other private assets in India and abroad, including in countries like UK, Dubai, Sri Lanka and Mauritius,” creating offshore assets of around Rs 4,000 crore, Cobrapost said.

The website also alleged that DHFL advanced monies to several companies in Gujarat and Karnataka around state elections, and also gave donations to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

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“… donations of Rs 19.5 crore have been given to the BJP between the financial years 2014–15 and 2016–17 by RKW Developers Pvt. Ltd., Skill Realtors Pvt. Ltd. and Darshan Developers Pvt. Ltd., respectively, although they were not entitled to do so. All these donors are linked to the Wadhawans,” Cobrapost said.

The website added it has identified 45 companies which were used by Wadhwans as vehicles to siphon off funds from DHFL and were given loans in excess of Rs 14,282 crore.

Of these 45 companies, 34 shell companies — which are all within the interest of the Wadhawans, the chief promoters of DHFL — have been given unsecured loans of Rs. 10,493 crore, it said. The remaining 11 companies belong to Sahana Group, which have been given Rs. 3,789 crore in loans. Most of the loans extended to Sahana group have become non performing assets, it alleged.

Responding to the Cobrapost allegations, DHFL said, “This mischievous misadventure by CobraPost appears to have been done with a mala fide intent to cause damage to the goodwill and reputation of DHFL and resulting in erosion in shareholder value.”

Stating that the exercise of such allegations appears to be “to destabilise the company and the market equilibrium besides hampering our meeting the on-going obligations”, the finance company said, “DHFL and its group companies are confident of meeting any scrutiny on any aspect of our operations and will pursue these frivolous allegations to its logical conclusion.”