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Thursday, October 01, 2020

Eight months on, SFIO yet to record statements of Wadhawan brothers

According to court records, the SFIO is yet to seek court's permission to either question or to take custody of the Wadhawan brothers, who are in judicial custody in connection with a money laundering case filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Written by Khushboo Narayan | Mumbai | July 10, 2020 2:58:44 am
Wadhawan brothers at the CBI court in Mumbai. (Express photo/File)

Even after eight months of commencing its probe, the government’s Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) is yet to question and record the statements of the jailed promoters of Dewan Housing Finance Corporation (DHFL)– Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan for the alleged fraud and default of bank loans, sources told The Indian Express. According to court records, the SFIO is yet to seek court’s permission to either question or to take custody of the Wadhawan brothers, who are in judicial custody in connection with a money laundering case filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

The government had on November 6, 2019, ordered an investigation into DHFL and five real estate firms associated with it. The minister of state for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Anurag Thakur at that time had told the Lok Sabha that SFIO is probing DHFL, Immediate Real Estate Pvt Ltd, Tenancity Real Estate Pvt Ltd, RKW Developers Pvt Ltd, Darshan Developers Pvt. Ltd and Rajen Skycrapers Pvt Ltd, after the ministry received an inspection report from its regional director in Mumbai. The inspection report had provided details of outstanding loans worth Rs 95,615 crore of DHFL as on March 31, 2019.

The acting director of SFIO, MK Pandey, declined to comment on the status of SFIO probe in the DHFL case.

Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is planning to file a supplementary prosecution complaint (chargesheet) in its money laundering case against DHFL and it’s promoters in the next few days. The ED supplementary complaint is likely to charge Kapil Wadhawan and DHFL for their role in a case where Yes Bank Ltd invested Rs 3,700 crore in the short-term debentures of DHFL and simultaneously, Kapil Wadhawan paid a kickback of Rs 600 crore to Rana Kapoor, co-founder of Yes Bank and his family members. This ED has alleged that the kickback was extended in the garb of a loan given by DHFL to DOIT Urban Ventures (India) Pvt Ltd, a Rana Kapoor Group Company. Kapoor is currently in jail.

On Thursday, the ED attached properties worth about Rs 800 crore of Rana Kapoor and land and flats worth Rs 1400 crore of Wadhawan brothers under the stringent Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The attached properties of DHFL promoters include land in Australia and multiple flats in New York and London. The agency has attached seven flats of Kapoor at the plush Malabar Hill and Peddar Road in South Mumbai, a Rs 48 crore property at Amrita Shergill Marg in Delhi among others.

ED’s supplementary complaint is also likely to charge DHFL in connection with alleged diversion of a Rs 750 crore loan from Yes Bank to Belief Realtors Private Ltd , a company owned by the promoters of DHFL. The agency has found that in 2018 Yes Bank gave Rs 750 crore to Belief Realtors for redevelopment of slums at Bandra reclamation in Mumbai along with Radius Developers. Of the total loan, Yes Bank charged Rs 118 crore as processing fees and the remaining Rs 632 crore was transferred to Belief Realtors. The ED found that this money was immediately diverted to Kyta Advisers, another entity connected to DHFL promoters.

Earlier, the ED alleged that upto 2015, DHFL has recorded loans of about Rs 12773 crore to about 1 lakh fictitious retail customers even as these loans were actually given to about 79 companies associated with the promoters of DHFL.

Last month, the auditor of DHFL, which is under moratorium, has reported a fair value loss of Rs 18,853 crore as of March 2020, mismatch of Rs 3,018 crore and stated that recoverability of inter-corporate deposits (ICDs) of Rs 3,786.24 crore “is yet to be ascertained”.DHFL , that owes Rs 83,873 crore owes to banks, mutual funds and investors, also became the first non-banking finance company (NBFC) to be referred to the bankruptcy court for resolution by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in November 2019. The RBI superseded the board of DHFL and appointed a three-member advisory body to advise the RBI appointed administrator of the company.

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