CBI seizes Rs 34 crore of artwork in fraud searches DHFL, Real Estate News, ET RealEstate

NEW DELHI: The CBI on Friday seized two paintings by famous artists Tyeb Mehta and Manjit Bawa, valued at Rs 34.7 crore, during its searches at three locations in connection with an alleged bank fraud of Rs 34,615 crore by DHFL, officials said.

The paintings – “Bull” by Tyeb Mehta worth over Rs 27 crore and an untitled Bawa coin estimated at over Rs 7.7 crore – were among a large number of paintings and sculptures – valued in total at Rs 40 crore – in cash and other incriminating documents seized in the latest searches, the CBI said in a statement.

The agency carried out searches at the premises of Rebecca Dewan and Ajay Ramesh Nawandar in Mumbai and Dewan Villa in Mahabaleshwar, officials said.

The CBI said Nawandar’s alleged links to notorious wanted criminals are also under scrutiny.

“During the investigation, it was discovered that the promoters misappropriated the funds and made investments in various entities. It was also alleged that the promoters had acquired expensive paintings and sculptures worth approximately Rs 55 crore (approx) using the misappropriated funds,” according to the CBI statement.

It was alleged that the private company and its promoters had created a number of front companies and shell entities (the Bandra Book entities) and siphoned off huge funds by funneling funds to such shell entities, according to the statement.

It was further alleged that separate audits conducted by other private accounting organizations had identified multiple instances of the defendant misappropriating funds for personal gain and falsifying books of account to cover up and conceal questionable transactions.

The CBI has booked Dewan Housing Finance Ltd (DHFL), its former CMD Kapil Wadhawan, its director Dheeraj Wadhawan and others for bank fraud of Rs 34,615 crore, making it the biggest such case probed by the agency.

Following the registration of the case on June 20, a team of more than 50 agency officials carried out searches of 12 premises in Mumbai belonging to the FIR-listed defendants, including Sudhakar Shetty of Amaryllis Realtors and eight other manufacturers on June 22.

The agency acted on a complaint from Union Bank of India (UBI), the lead bank of a 17-member consortium of lenders that had granted it credit facilities of Rs 42,871 crore between 2010 and 2018.

The bank alleged that the Wadhawans in a criminal conspiracy with others distorted and concealed facts, committed criminal breach of trust and misused public funds to deceive the consortium to the tune of Rs 34,614 crore into not repaying the ready from May 2019.

The audit of DHFL’s accounting books showed that the company allegedly committed financial irregularities, embezzled funds, fabricated books, misappropriated funds to “create assets for Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan” using public money.

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