By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, Sept 26:
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached a Rs.127-crore flat of “Yes Bank” co-founder Rana Kapoor, located in London in connection with a money laundering investigation against him and others, on Friday.
ED issued a provisional order for attaching the property — Apartment 1, 77 South Audley Street, London — under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). “The market value of the flat is 13.5 million pound (about Rs.127 crore).
The property was purchased by Rana Kapoor in 2017 for 9.9 million pound ( Rs.93 crore) in the name of DOIT Creations Jersey Limited and he is the beneficial owner,” the ED said in a statement. ED had information that Kapoor was trying to alienate this property in London and had hired a property consultant. Enquiries confirmed that this property was listed for sale on several websites.
Now ED will now approach its counterparts in the United Kingdom to execute the attachment order and will issue a proclamation that the asset cannot be sold or purchased as it has been seized under the sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The ED had earlier attached assets in the US, Dubai and Australia in a similar fashion as part of other investigations under the PMLA.
The ED had booked Kapoor, his family members and others under the PMLA after studying a CBI FIR that alleged that dubious multi-crore loans were given by Yes Bank to various entities in contravention of the law and in lieu of purported kickbacks given to the Kapoor family.
The CBI FIR had stated that during April-June, 2018, “Yes Bank Limited” invested Rs.3,700 crore in the short term debentures of Dewan Housing Finance Limited (DHFL). Simultaneously, Kapil Wadhawan of DHFL paid kickback of Rs.600 crore to Kapoor and his family members in the garb of loan of Rs.600 crore to DOIT Urban Ventures (India) Pvt Ltd, Mumbai (Rana Kapoor group company).
“In addition to the above, Yes Bank Ltd had also sanctioned a loan of Rs.750 crore to RKW Developers, Mumbai, a group company of DHFL beneficially owned by Kapil Wadhawan, Dheeraj Wadhawan and their family members,”. The loan was sanctioned for company’s project at Bandra in North West Mumbai. But the entire amount was siphoned off by Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan through their shell companies”, ED said.
Rana Kapoor, Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan were arrested in early March this year, in the alleged scam worth Rs. 4,300 crore, by the ED. They are in judicial custody at present. ED had also filed charge sheet before a special court in Mumbai in this case. The ED has already attached properties in this case and with this order the total attachment in this probe stands at Rs.2,011 crore.
In the meanwhile Yes Bank repaid Rs 50,000 crore which it had taken from RBI’s special liquidity facility (SLF) on September 8, well before the due date. Bank Chairman Sunil Mehta, in his address to shareholders at the bank’s AGM said the bank could do so because it received strong customer liquidity inflows. RBI had extended special funding support as a part of restructuring scheme to rescue the then ailing bank. The bank raised equity funding of Rs 15,000 crore through follow-on public offering (FPO) in July(within four months of the restructuring scheme).
It may be recalled that on March 5, the RBI announced that it was superseding the Yes Bank Board of Directors for a period of 30 days owing to serious deterioration in the financial position of the bank and the bank was placed under moratorium, restricting withdrawals to Rs 50,000 per depositor till April 3. The moratorium was lifted on March 18, 2020. Subsequently ‘Yes Bank Ltd. Reconstruction Scheme, 2020’ was worked out by RBI.