PMC Bank scam: ED looks into 18 companies linked to HDIL

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New Delhi, Oct 4 (IANS) After registering a money laundering case against Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL) chairman Rakesh Wadhawan and his son Sarang Wadhawan in the Rs 4,355 crore Punjab Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank fraud case, the Enforcement Directorate is looking for the details of other 18 companies linked to HDIL during the raids at six locations in Mumbai.

The ED carried our raids at six places, including HDIL’s head office at Bandra (East) and residence of Rakesh Wadhawan, which is known as Wadhawan House at in Bandra (West). The financial investigating agency also raided premises of former PMC Bank chairman Waryam Singh and present MD Joy Thomas.

Interestingly, it has found that HDIL were one of the sponsor of Kolkata Knight Riders, an IPL cricket team owned by Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan. HDIL was also the organiser of a glorious Mumbai fashion event – HDIL Couture Week India, which was later shelved. HDIL had also stake in Adhikari Brothers’ firms and Hindi news channel Live India.

The financial probe agency said that they will now look into all the deals the company had done since its inception. It stated that they had registered a case under Prevention of Money Laundering Act on October 3 and are currently looking into “bank exposures to Wadhawan group of companies”.

The ED is looking into the roles of seven directors of HDIL, including the Wadhawans. Both were arrested on Thursday by Mumbai Police after they were found non-cooperating with the sleuths.

The financial investigating agency is looking for the details of other 18 companies linked to HDIL during the raids. Sources said that the companies liked to HDIL are Wadhawan Livestock Pvt Ltd, Privilege Industries Ltd, UM Architecture and Contractors Ltd, Guruashish Construction Pvt Ltd, Heritage Housing Development (India) Pvt Ltd, HR Infracity Pvt Ltd, Libra Hotels Pvt Ltd, Privilege Airways Pvt Ltd and ANC Holdings & Investment Pvt Ltd.

Other companies associated are Privilege Power and Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, HC Infracity Pvt Ltd, Dreams The Mall Company Ltd, The Mall Malad Management Company Ltd, Dewan Realtors Pvt Ltd, Libra Realtors Pvt Ltd, HDIL Harmony Mall Company Ltd and Privilege Health Care Services Pvt Ltd.

“We want to know the exposure of these companies to the bank and in what all business they are in,” said a senior ED officer adding that they are also looking into the deals and the companies had. Further, the companies has also invested at various other businesses and sponsored many programmes.

The ED has started probed taking cognizance of Mumbai Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) FIR into the matter.

It is alleged that HDIL, which is facing bankruptcy proceedings, and its group companies had taken huge loans from PMC Bank.

The FIR with Mumbai police was filed by by Jasbir Singh Matta, manager, Recovery Department, of PMC Bank. It is alleged that as many as 21,049 fictitious bank accounts were allegedly created to hide the loans, which were disbursed in violation of RBI norms.

It is also alleged that HDIL accounted for nearly 73 per cent of the bank’s total loans. Out of the Rs 4,355 crore of loans under the scanner, around Rs 2,146 crore were transferred to accounts held by the Wadhawans. An account belonging to Wadhawan had a balance of Rs 2,009 crore on August 31, 2019, according to the FIR.

During probe by the Reserve Bank of India, it has been found that directors of PMC Bank had replaced 44 suspicious loan accounts with 20,149 fictitious bank accounts whose individual balances were low.

The 44 borrower accounts were allegedly linked to HDIL were masked by tampering with bank software. The PMC Bank’s Managing Director Joy Thomas was behind the masking the borrower account.

–IANS

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