The ED is looking into more multi-crore rupees loans issued by Yes Bank to corporate houses that turned non-performing assets as part of its money laundering investigation against its arrested promoter Rana Kapoor, officials said on Monday.
They said the agency has widened its probe in the case beyond the loan given to DHFL and is now looking at its books to find out if kickbacks were received by the Kapoor family and others from business houses in lieu of non-initiation of loan recovery processes.
The central agency is probing the scam-hit Dewan Housing and Finance Limited (DHFL) giving a loan of Rs 600 crore to a firm "controlled" by Kapoor's family, that includes his wife and three daughters, in lieu of not recovering over Rs 4,000 crore of loan issued by Yes Bank to the former. Sources said Yes Bank CEO Ravneet Gill was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) at its office in Mumbai on Monday.
They added that the investigators have also zeroed in on Kapoor's purported foreign assets in UK, France and the US to see if the proceeds of crime of money laundering were used to purchase these assets by the banker and his family. A dozen alleged shell firms, Kapoor family investments of Rs 2,000 crore and over Rs 4,500 crore worth of transactions are under the scanner of the agency at present.
The agency has also found that 44 costly paintings were in the alleged possession of Kapoor, one of which was purchased by him from Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
While the Congress party has said that the deal was transparent as payment of Rs 2 crore was received by Vadra from Kapoor through cheque and was reflected in income tax returns, the ED is probing if the painting was owned by her or the All India Congress Committee (AICC).
It is also investigating if the provenance certificate (signed by an artist to state his genuine work) was signed by Vadra and under what circumstances.
Sources claimed that this Rs 2 crore was used by Vadra to purchase a property in Himachal Pradesh. The painting, a portrait of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, was done by celebrated artist M F Hussain and was gifted to Gandhi during the AICC centenary celebrations in 1985. The Congress has rejected the charge as fake, saying there was no illegality in the transaction as the party general secretary had received the money (Rs 2 crore) in cheque and mentioned it in her income tax filings in 2010.
The agency brought the painting to its Mumbai office on Monday and it is expected that Kapoor will be asked to identify it. Kapoor and his wife are also expected to be confronted by the ED with Kapil Wadhawan, DHFL promoter and CMD. He was arrested by the ED in the Iqbal Mirchi PMLA case and is out on bail at present.
A big housing finance company and a financial insurance firm are also under the scanner of the ED for their dealings with Kapoor and Yes Bank. A particular instance of a popular power generation company taking Rs 500 crore loan from the bank and it later turning NPA (non performing asset) is also being probed by the ED.
Sources claimed that the promoter of the firm later sold his prime property at Amrita Shergill Marg in Delhi to Kapoor's wife for about Rs 350 crore and this money was sourced from the housing finance company in a "multi-layered" dubious transaction. This is a case of quid pro quo so that no coercive action is taken by the bank to recover the loan given to the power generation company and this instance is now being probed, they said.
Two more pricey immovable properties at Kautilya Marg and SP Marg in the national capital, alleged to be in control of the Kapoors, are being probed by the agency for being "proceeds of crime". The estimated book value of these three assets is stated to be Rs 1,000 crore. The Enforcement Directorate has said that this case against Kapoor involves proceeds of crime to the tune of Rs 4,300 crore.
The 62-year-old former CEO and MD of the bank was arrested on Sunday and is in ED custody till March 11. Sources said the Income Tax Department is also set to initiate action against Kapoor and others for tax evasion and possession of alleged undeclared foreign assets.