The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered an FIR against billionaire Gautam Thapar, promoter of the Avantha Group, and others for alleged diversion of over Rs 466 crore in Yes Bank during 2017-19.
The industrialist and others have been accused of cheating the bank by availing of a loan that turned into an NPA (non-performing asset).
CBI carried out searches at 14 locations in Delhi-NCR, Kolkata, Lucknow, and Secunderabad on Wednesday, after registering the case, which led to the recovery of incriminatory documents and digital evidence.
Thapar is already being investigated in another case pertaining to the diversion of public money in Yes Bank allegedly involving Yes Bank's former chief Rana Kapoor.
CBI had filed a case against two private companies based at Delhi and Gurugram and their promoters and directors besides some bank officials, who have not been identified yet, for defrauding Yes Bank.
"It was alleged that the private company based at Gurugram/Delhi had availed term loan facility of Rs 515 crore from Yes Bank Limited in December, 2017. The loan amount was declared as NPA on October 30, 2019. Further, the borrower was allegedly declared 'Red Flagged Account' on March 6, 2020, on the basis of Early Warning Signals (EWS)," an agency spokesperson told the Times of India.
Besides Thapar, CBI has also named Rajendra Kumar Mangal, Tapsi Mahajan, Raghubir Kumar Sharma, and their companies Avantha Reality Pvt Ltd, Oyster Buildwell Pvt Ltd, unknown officials of Jhabua Power Ltd.
Oyster Buildwell Pvt Ltd (OBPL) is part of Avantha group with over 97 per cent stake held by Avantha Realty and the remaining by Thapar and Vani agencies, the CBI alleged.
The case has been registered on a complaint, dated May 27, 2021, from Chief Vigilance Officer of Yes Bank Ashish Vinod Joshi.
The CBI has alleged that the accused have indulged in a criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating, and forgery for diversion of public money to the tune of Rs 466.15 crore.
The complaint by Yes Bank, now a part of the FIR, has alleged that Jhabua Power Limited (JPL), a group concern of OBPL, entered in a operations and maintenance contract for its 600 MW power plant with its holding company Jhabua Power Investment Ltd for 10 years.
OBPL was required to pay an interest-free refundable security deposit of Rs 515 crore to JPIL for which Yes Bank had sanctioned a long-term loan of Rs 515 crore for 10 years.
The company defaulted on payments with the account turning into a non-performing asset on October 30, 2019.
The total outstanding principal dues stand at Rs 466.15 crore, it alleged.
During its forensic audit, the bank found that only Rs 14.16 crore of the total Rs 514.27 crore disbursed by the bank were transferred to JPIL in its IndusInd bank account and "ultimate end use of Rs 500.11 crore loan fund could not be ascertained", the complaint alleged.
The inspection of JPIL accounts showed that it had granted an advance of Rs 345.15 crore to group company Avantha Power and Infrastructure Ltd from the security money received from OBPL, but in the absence of account statements of JPIL, the money trail could not be established by the auditor, it alleged.
During an internal review of bank documents, Yes Bank found that the money given to OBPL for the security deposit to JPIL was used by it to clear loans of the Avantha group of Gautam Thapar.