ED files charges against Thapar, Rana Kapoor in bank loan fraud

ED files charges against Thapar, Rana Kapoor in bank loan fraud thumbnail

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has named 21 people and entities in its first charge-sheet in an alleged bank loan fraud involving Avantha Group promoter Gautam Thapar.

Besides Thapar, the people named include former chief executive of Yes Bank Rana Kapoor, said people with direct knowledge of the matter.

The agency on Monday informed a local court that it has so far unearthed Rs 514 crore of “proceeds of crime” from Rs 2,435 crore of loans taken by Thapar’s group from a consortium of banks, led by State Bank of India. The ED alleged that the funds were spent on purposes other than the ones the loans were sought for and that substantial funds had been stashed abroad.

Names of some employees and associates of the Avantha Group and Yes Bank, and three companies linked to Thapar also figure in the charge-sheeted.

A trunk full of documents, around 3,000 of them, has been submitted by the agency to the court, the people said.

The agency has elaborated upon the alleged modus operandi, role of bank employees and the evidence collected by it during its investigation so far. Appearing on behalf of Thapar, advocate Vijay Aggarwal urged for an early hearing of the case since Thapar’s bail is slated for hearing on October 7.

The court verbally observed that since the charge-sheet was voluminous and would decide the fate of 21 individuals and entities charged by the agency, it court would peruse all the documents before deciding on taking cognisance of the charge-sheet.

The court has fixed the matter for resumed hearing on October 9.

Last week, ET reported about ED’s claim that the alleged bank loan fraud was mutually beneficial for the Avantha Group and Yes Bank.

In its response opposing the bail application of Thapar, the federal agency told a court that proceeds of crime totalling Rs 131 crore had been routed out to companies based in Mauritius.

To buttress its charge that the fraud benefitted Avantha and Yes Bank, the agency had referred to emails dated August 4, 2017 and August 8, 2017, purportedly sent by Thapar to Rana Kapoor, the then managing director and chief executive of Yes Bank. In one of the emails, the agency had alleged, Thapar wrote to Kapoor “hinting that a PE investor has interest in the (Avantha Group) companies and due diligence is ongoing and they will endeavour to provide a safe exit to Yes Bank from the Avantha Group”.

The agency has claimed that a loan transaction between Yes Bank and Oyster Buildwell — a company it said was controlled by Thapar — was a result of “criminal conspiracy hatched by officials of Avantha Group and Yes Bank”.

The ED had arrested Thapar on August 3 on charges of playing a “key role” in laundering more than Rs 500 crore in a bank loan fraud case.

Thapar had denied the allegations, calling himself a “victim” of fraud allegedly played upon him by officials of Yes Bank.

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