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In 6 to 22 minutes, DHFL’s Kapil Wadhawan approved unsecured loans to builder Chhabria’s firms, CBI says

Unsecured loans of Rs. 416 crores were sanctioned by Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd (DHFL) promoter Kapil Wadhawan to concerns of developer Sanjay Chhabria’s Radius Group during a four-month period in 2018 after Yes Bank had invested in DHFL. Some of these approvals came via emails from Kapil Wadhawan to his team in as little as 22 minutes and 6 minutes after they forwarded the loan proposals to him.

The Central Bureau of Investigation says so in its supplemental indictment filed in a special court last month, in which it alleges Chhabria conspired with co-defendants to embezzle funds DHFL received in loans from Yes Bank. Chhabria was arrested on April 28. He and his five companies were added to Yes Bank’s now 20-strong list of defendants, including Rana Kapoor, founder and former CEO and MD of Yes Bank, his family members, and DHFL’s Wadhawan brothers Kapil and Dheeraj.

The indictment said the investigation found Yes Bank’s investments in DHFL bonds were closely linked to loans approved by the DHFL to Chhabria’s Radius Group company. Loans of approximately Rs. 3,094 crores were sanctioned by the DHFL to the Chhabria companies shortly after receiving the bank’s investment.

Investments were approved by Kapil via email to his team and the agency’s investigation revealed that Kapil Wadhawan had developed a practice in the DHFL where he would disburse loans or funds to multiple companies by emailing them without proper approval any rating allowed.

Of the 416 crores, the indictment states that Rs. 80 crores was approved by Kapil within 22 minutes of receiving an email to that effect from his team. The amount was paid out on the same day without further approval, it said. In another case, Rs. 70 crores was approved by Kapil within six minutes of receiving the mail. In this way, it was said, 416 crores to companies in the Radius group were sanctioned without any assessment. 49 units in a BKC project were offered as mortgages to the DHFL by Radius Group companies for these loans. The indictment states that a Radius Group employee stated that those units were already mortgaged to other lenders and therefore “simply didn’t exist”.

Subsequently, it was said, when DHFL officials pursued the Radius group for repaying the loans, Chhabaria refused to post a mortgage or repay the loans, claiming the Wadhawan brothers owed him over Rs. 250 crores. The indictment states that the head of DHFL’s project finance department discussed this with Kapil Wadhawan, who did not dispute Chhabria’s allegation. In 2019, Dheeraj Wadhawan offered a plot of land owned by his company M/s RKW Developers Pvt. ltd for the loans drawn by Radius Group. Two other properties were offered by companies belonging to him as security.

Accused contractor offers to deposit Rs. 4 Cr on Yes Bank account

On Thursday, contractor Satyan Tandon, who was arrested in the case last month, filed a request for Yes Bank bank details to deposit Rs. 4 cr in it before a CBI special court. The court allowed the same indication that Yes Bank was ultimately the victim of the crime and ordered the investigating officer to obtain the bank’s account details for the deposit of the amount. It found that this amount was allegedly used by Tandon for his personal gain. Tandon’s lawyer had informed the court that he did not admit any guilt but wanted to deposit the amount and assured him that he would not claim it again in the future.

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Richard Dement

The author Richard Dement