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Friday 29 May 2020

Indiabulls-Yes Bank deal: ED probes property in posh Delhi neighbourhood

'We are trying to find out the illegal transactions and the layering for such loans,' Additional Solicitors General Anil Singh said, appearing for the Enforcement Directorate

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The documents Sirf News had shared in its report “Indiabulls financed Kapoor family after Yes Bank lent it money” on 11 march and more have figured in the reports of Live Mint, The Financial Express, Moneycontrol, Business Insider, Business Today and other business and political newspapers — and television news channels like Republic TV and India Today — showing round-tripping of funds between Indiabulls and Yes Bank. The family of the co-founder of the bank, Rana Kapoor, is shown in these documents to have borrowed Rs 375 crore from Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd in 2017 to fund the purchase of a property on the upmarket Amrita Shergill Marg of Delhi. Industrialist Gautam Thapar had pledged this property with the bank, two people directly aware of the matter told Live Mint on 13 March.

Today, a court for the prevention of money laundering extended the custody of Kapoor till the 20 March, responding favourably to the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) remand application. The agency has alleged this is a case of large-scale fraudulence involving public money. “We are trying to find out the illegal transactions and the layering for such loans,” said Additional Solicitors General Anil Singh appearing for the investigative agency.

In the 13 March report on Live Mint, the sources were quoted as saying that the ED was trying to find out whether Yes Bank had followed due process in the sale, but the loan is not under investigation. The ED had arrested Kapoor on 8 March while the CBI registered its second case against Kapoor that week on the 13th.

Yes Bank had sold the property to the Kapoor family near the reserve price, the sources told the business newspaper named above.

The ED is probing Kapoor and his family’s network of shell companies. Many of these firms are real estate holdings. The agency is examining in particular Kapoor’s culpability in the Amrita Shergill Marg deal, said the sources.

After Realty Ltd defaulted on a loan from Yes Bank, Rana Kapoor’s wife Bindu Kapoor’s firm Bliss Abode Pvt. Ltd bought the property from this firm of Thapar. The ED wants to know whether the marquee property sold to Bindu Kapoor’s company Bliss Abode for about Rs 378 crore was kosher. The property should have been put up for auction, which would have got Thapar a higher-than-reserve price, which Realty Ltd strangely did not do, said a source in the ED.

Avantha Realty and Bliss Abode executed this sale deed on 15 September 2017. That was six months after Bliss Abode was incorporated.

Another source said Bliss Abode had taken a loan of Rs 375 crore from Indiabulls Housing Finance to purchase the property. Even as Indiabulls serviced the loan, the property was used as collateral for the loan. They registered the total loan of Rs 375 crore through five loan agreements, shows a deed of hypothecation.

Four of the agreement worth Rs 285 crore is dated on 5 October 2017 while that worth another Rs 90 crore was registered on 13 July 2017.

Bliss Abode and IDBI Trusteeship Services Ltd entered this hypothecation deed. Indiabulls Housing Finance gave the loan to fund the purchase, as per the sources. The document shows further that Kapoor was a co-borrower of these loans that went to Bliss Abode.

Attempts to hack Sirf News following Yes Bank-Indiabulls report

By 13 March (today), even as the media reported that “Yes Bank shares have dropped 32% to close at Rs 25.05 on the BSE on Thursday while Indiabulls Housing Finance has lost 43% to close at Rs 163 in the same period”, Sirf News‘ Editor-in-Chief Surajit Dasgupta received allurements from an executive of Concept PR called Sanjay Singh followed by a call from a person identified as Naveen Dedha by the Truecaller app on the editor’s mobile. After the second call went unanswered, a threat-cum-bribe offer followed from the same number via WhatsApp.

Thereafter, several calls were made to Dasgupta’s phone number from numbers already identified by Truecaller users as spam or scam.

Once the crank calls ended, hundreds of attempts were made to hack the Sirf News website from different foreign destinations. Fortunately, the hackers did not succeed.

Live Mint says that an email sent to Indiabulls Housing Finance remained unanswered until 13 March.

RAB Enterprises (India) Pvt. Ltd, a company linked to Kapoor, owned Bliss Abode as on 31 March 2019. Bliss Abode’s registered office is situated on 40 Amrita Shergill Marg, the very road on which the property the ED is probing is located.

Bliss Abode claimed a net loss of Rs 1.01 crore on revenues of Rs 1.05 crore in the financial year 2019.

NGO Citizens Whistle Blower Forum had alleged in the Delhi High Court earlier through an additional affidavit that Yes Bank had lent Rs 2,183 crore to eight unlisted firms that were linked to the Indiabulls group. These companies either have a negative net worth or an average equity capital of Rs 1 lakh.

Indiabulls, through its spokesperson, has consistently denied that the promoter of Indiabulls has outstanding loans from Yes Bank. They have been saying throughout March that all loans had been fully repaid a few years ago.

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