Gautam Thapar, the promoter of the Avantha Group, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with an alleged money laundering case. Thapar was arrested by authorities under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on August 3 following raids that were conducted by the ED in Mumbai and Delhi according to a report by PTI. He is expected to be produced before a court on Wednesday where the ED will seek custody of Thapar, said the report.
The arrest of Thapar stems from an issue that goes back as far as 2017 when he had allegedly acquired a loan of Rs 515 crore from Yes Bank. This loan was then defaulted on in 2019. Added to this the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had filed a case against Avantha Realty Limited, Thapar and others for allegedly cheating the bank of Rs 466.51 crore between 2017 and 2019.
In an earlier case, the CBI alleged that Rana Kapoor turned a blind eye towards the loans and the defaults of the same by Thapar’s companies due to supposed kickbacks that Kapoor was receiving. In said case, there was a default of Rs 2,435 crore. The State Bank of India (SBI) had lent 12.8 per cent and Yes Bank had an 11.75 per cent exposure according to a report by Moneylife.
In the events that led to the businessman’s arrest over the alleged fraud, the ED has earlier launched a probe on the basis of an FIR filed by the CBI against Thapar and others for allegedly defrauding Yes Bank, said a report by the Economic Times. The CBI had then booked Thapar and top brass directors and promoters as well as other unknown persons of private companies and bank officials for the Rs 446.51 crore alleged loss to Yes Bank.
Additionally, it was alleged in that Thapar was declared a ‘Red Flagged Account’ on March 6, 2020, on the grounds of Early Warning Signals (EWS). As per the CBI’s FIR, it was alleged that the company and its holdings company along with the directors, promoters and others committed an act of breach of trust, supposed cheating, criminal conspiracy and forgery for diversion/misappropriation of public money during the period of 2017-2019 the report by ET mentioned. It was this supposed course of misconduct that led to the Rs 466.51 crore loss incurred by Yes Bank.
In a statement reported by PTI, the ED was quoted as stating, “The (CBI) FIR alleges that Rana Kapoor, then MD and CEO of Yes Bank Limited, obtained illegal gratification in the form of a property in a prime location in Delhi at much less than the realisable market value belonging to Avantha Reality Ltd for sanction of a loan to ARL and for extending concessions, relaxations and waivers in the already existing credit facilities provided to Avantha Group companies and for advancing new and additional loans to them by Yes Bank Ltd.”
The ED is also allegedly probing into transactions between the Avantha Realty company and Rana Kapoor and his wife. The couple is supposedly already under the microscope under the PMLA by the same agency.
Others arraigned as part of the investigation are Avantha Realty, Oyster Buildwell Private Limited, Raghubir Kumar Sharma, Rajendra Kumar Mangal and Tapsi Mahajan, unknown officials of Jhabua Power Investment Limited, Jhabua Power Limited, Avantha Holdings Limited and Avantha Power and Infrastructure Limited.