CBI books Yes Bank founder, wife for taking Rs 307 crore bribe

PTI, Mar 14, 2020, 1:12 PM IST

New Delhi: The CBI has booked Yes Bank founder Rana Kapoor for allegedly obtaining Rs 307 crore bribe in the purchase of a Lutyen’s zone bungalow from a realty firm to go easy on around Rs 1,900 crore bank loans to the seller’s group companies, officials said on Friday.

Besides Kapoor, the CBI has also booked his wife Bindu, her company Bliss Abode Pvt Ltd as well as Avantha Realty Ltd and Gautam Thapar the promoter of Avantha Group, which sold the bungalow, the officials said.

On Friday, the CBI carried out searches at the residence of Kapoor, former MD and CEO of Yes Bank and his wife Bindu in Mumbai, and offices of Bliss Abode Pvt Ltd, Thapar and Avantha group companies and Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd in New Delhi and NCR, they said.

In a statement, Indiabulls Housing Finance, however, said no raid of the CBI has happened on Indiabulls group or at any of its offices.

“CBI raids have happened on Yes Bank/Rana Kapoor who have their offices in Indiabulls Finance Centre in the capacity of a tenant,” company secretary Amit Jain said.

When asked, CBI officials maintained that searches took place at Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd office in New Delhi.

The case pertains to a 1.2-acre uber-deluxe bungalow at 40, Amrita Shergill Marg which the Avantha group had mortgaged to ICICI Bank and DCB bank at Rs 550 crore, of which Rs 380 crore was outstanding in March 2016, the officials said. Yes Bank chipped in with a loan of Rs 400 crore as Lease Rental Discounting (LRD) in which discounted values of future lease rentals proposed to be received by the borrower by leasing its property are sanctioned as a loan amount, they said.

In order to justify the higher loan amount, Avantha Realty (ARL) allegedly entered in a sham lease agreement with a group company, BILT Graphics Paper Pvt Ltd, at a whopping Rs 65 crore per annum with five per cent yearly escalation, they said.

The agreement was executed on March 22, 2016, two days prior to sanction of the loan from Yes Bank to ARL. Surprisingly, the same property was leased to another Avantha group company for Rs 1.02 crore per annum before, officials said.

“It was essentially a sham agreement entered into with an intention to defraud and cheat Yes Bank Ltd for justifying loan of Rs 400 crore to ARL for the purpose of acquiring the property by Bindu Kapoor who was a director in Bliss Abode Pvt Ltd,” the CBI FIR alleged.

The agency has alleged that at the time of sanctioning the loan, the outstanding liabilities of Avantha group were a staggering Rs 1,333 crore towards Yes Bank which had extended credit facilities of Rs 2,500 crore to it. The company was not eligible for the loan, they said. Avantha group used the Rs 400 crore loan to clear loans of ICICI Bank and DCB, following which the charge of the property, which commanded a valuation of Rs 550 crore, was created in favour of Yes Bank, the FIR said.

For the first year, principal loan repayment was kept at Rs 5 lakh per month which was 100 times lower than the rental income the property was projected to fetch, the CBI FIR alleged, adding it was done to keep the account standard as ARL would have found it difficult to service the loan.

A year later, the account came under stress with principal liabilities of Rs 12 crore and unpaid interest but not enough to justify the sale of the collateral – the bungalow. But, a decision to sell the property against the loan was taken, the FIR alleged.

A noted company showed interest to buy the property at Rs 375 crore for which ARL sought a no-objection certificate from the bank which was given on the condition that the entire loan will be repaid, the CBI said.

This offer was allegedly withdrawn on August 29, 2017, and Bliss Abode pitched in to purchase the property at Rs 378 crore which was readily agreed by a Management Credit Committee (MCC) headed by Kapoor and a no-objection certificate (NOC) was issued, they said.

Bliss Abode mortgaged the property to Indiabulls Housing Finance Limited for a total loan of Rs 685 crore loan – Rs 375 crore obtained in two deals of Rs 90 crore and Rs 285 crore, and Rs 310 crore of further loans to Imagine Estate Pvt Ltd and Imagine Home Pvt Ltd, both having Bindu as director, they said.

The loan of Rs 90 crore by Bliss Abode, in which Rana Kapoor was a co-borrower, from Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd in July 2017, on a property in charge with Yes Bank, and other details were not disclosed by him to the Yes Bank board and the MCC which was allegedly in a conflict of interest, violation of bank’s code of conduct and certain provisions of the Companies Act, 2013.

“This appears to have been done with an ulterior motive to acquire the property as illegal gratification for various favours extended by Rana Kapoor to AG companies,” the FIR alleged. Instead of seeking a sale of other properties, he gave further loans of Rs 1,165 crore to its group companies under stress.

“These loans are yet to be repaid to Yes Bank Limited and there is stated to be a total outstanding of Rs 1900 crore against various credit facilities extended by YBL to AG companies by January 2020,” it said.

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