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Yes Bank case: Avantha Group raised Delhi property rent by 65 times to obtain loan

Investigations have found that the rental income from a Delhi property owned by Gautam Thapar was raised just before a loan was sanctioned by Yes Bank against it.

June 09, 2020 / 02:52 PM IST

New details have emerged in the investigations by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the Yes Bank money laundering case, that centre around the deals done over a multi-crore property owned by Gautam Thapar of Avantha Group.

Investigations have found several anomalies on various fronts - from increasing the rental income from the property - by 65 times - just before a loan was sanctioned by Yes Bank against it, to funds raised by Yes Bank co-promoter Rana Kapoor and his wife Bindu Kapoor on the same property after they bought it from Thapar.

The property, located at Delhi's tony Amrita Shergill Marg, and owned by Thapar's Avantha Realty Limited (ARL), was initially leased to Ballapur Industries Limited, another firm of the Avantha Group. It was later leased to Bilt Graphic Paper Products Limited (BGPPL), also promoted by Thapar. But this time, the lease rental increased by 65 times, to Rs 65 crore per year.

Just a week later, Yes Bank, then promoted by Kapoor, sanctioned a loan of Rs 400 crore to ARL.

Another source in the investigation agency told Moneycontrol: “Interesting part of this lease agreement is that this had been signed just a week before Yes Bank sanctioned the loan. As per the terms, the loan was back-ended with only Rs 5 lakh per month of principal repayment for the first 12 months against the lease rental of Rs 5.6 crore per month. ARL opened an escrow account as required under the facility but hardly any rent was received in this account.”

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Later, Bindu Kapoor’s company Bliss Abode bought 40, Amrit Shergill property for Rs 378 crore in September 2017 from the Avantha group. A source in the investigation agency told Moneycontrol: “On this property, Bliss Abode has taken approximately Rs 700 crore from various financial institutions. In most of the loans, Rana Kapoor is a co-borrower with his wife Bindu Kapoor.”

“Agencies found documents of earlier valuation of this property, but did not find any documents showing how Bliss Abode reached its Rs 378 crore valuation, as earlier valuations were much higher,” another source privy to the matter told Moneycontrol.

Yes Bank’s exposure to Avantha Group, which was at Rs 2500 crore, went up to Rs 3200 crore because of this loan and another simultaneous lending of Rs 250 crore to BGPPL.

A senior officer of investigation agency told Moneycontrol: “We did not find any particular reason for Avantha Group to shift its loan from ICICI Bank and DCB Bank to Yes Bank. Even their exposure increased by Rs 20 crore from Rs 380 crore.”

“We transfer our loan when we get cheaper loan facility which is not the case here,” he added.

Another source told Moneycontrol “Now work has started in full swing now we will start calling bank officials for their statements. After statement will be cleared that Rana Kapoor was taken approval from the board or communicated to the bank about his wife bought this property and simultaneously Rana Kapoor is sanctioning loan to Avantha Group”.

Yes Bank and Avantha Group did not respond to queries sent by Moneycontrol.

Rana Kapoor, before his arrest by the ED, was planning to sell 40, Amrit Shergill property, and had held several rounds of discussions with potential buyers.

Avantha Realty first came under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs’ (MCA) scanner after an auditor resigned from CG Power. The MCA’s western regional director has examined dealings between Avantha Realty and CG Power and proposed a probe by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO). Now, Avantha Realty is facing investigations by various central agencies.

On March 13, the CBI and the ED registered a case against Gautam Thapar, Rana Kapoor, Bindu Kapoor and Bliss Abode.
Tarun Sharma
first published: Jun 9, 2020 02:49 pm

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