Gautam Thapar
Gautam Thapar

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is conducting searches at the CG House in Mumbai, among six locations, in businessman Gautam Thapar's loan default case, according to a report in MoneyControl.

On June 9, 2021, the CBI had filed a First Information Report (FIR) against Thapar, industrialist-promoter of the Avantha Group, and others for alleged diversion of over Rs 466 crore in Yes Bank during 2017-19. Thapar and others have been accused of cheating the bank by availing of a loan that turned into an NPA (non-performing asset).

The CBI had carried out searches on June 9, 2021 at 14 locations in Delhi-NCR and three other cities after registering an FIR against Oyster Buildwell Private Ltd, Thapar and others for alleged diversion of over Rs 466 crore in Yes Bank during 2017-19, officials were cited as having said in an earlier report by The Economic Times.

In 2019, CG Power sacked Thapar as its chairman after an investigation that unearthed a multi-crore financial scam in the firm. Thapar denied the allegation and said there was neither any fraud nor any misappropriation of funds.

Chennai-based Murugappa Group took over scam-hit CG Power and Industrial Solutions, infusing Rs 700 crore into the company and appointing directors on its board.

Case so far

According to the report, the CBI had carried out searches at 14 locations in Delhi-NCR and three other cities after registering an FIR against Oyster Buildwell Private Ltd, Avantha group promoter Gautam Thapar and others for alleged diversion of over Rs 466 crore in Yes Bank during 2017-19, officials said.

The CBI had also booked directors of Oyster Buildwell Pvt Ltd - Raghubir Kumar Sharma, Rajendra Kumar Mangal and Tapsi Mahajan - as well as unidentified executives of Avantha Realty Pvt Ltd and Jhabua Power Ltd.

Oyster Buildwell Pvt Ltd (OBPL) is part of Avantha group with over 97 percent stake held by Avantha Realty and the remaining by Thapar and Vani agencies, the CBI alleged.

The case has been registered on a complaint, dated May 27, 2021, from Chief Vigilance Officer of the Bank Ashish Vinod Joshi.

The CBI has alleged that the accused have indulged in a criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating and forgery for diversion of public money to the tune of Rs 466.15 crore, they said.

After registering the case, the CBI team searched at 14 locations in Delhi and NCR, Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh), Secunderabad (Telangana) and Kolkata (West Bengal) including the premises of the accused, they said.

The complaint by Yes Bank, now a part of the FIR, has alleged that Jhabua Power Limited (JPL), a group concern of OBPL, entered in a operations and maintenance contract for its 600 MW power plant with its holding company Jhabua Power Investment Ltd for 10 years.

OBPL was required to pay an interest-free refundable security deposit of Rs 515 crore to JPIL for which Yes Bank had sanctioned a long-term loan of Rs 515 crore for 10 years.

The company defaulted on payments with the account turning into a non-performing asset on October 30, 2019.

The total outstanding principal dues stand at Rs 466.15 crore, it alleged.

During its forensic audit, the bank found that only Rs 14.16 crore of the total Rs 514.27 crore disbursed by the bank were transferred to JPIL in its IndusInd bank account and "ultimate end use of Rs 500.11 crore loan fund could not be ascertained", the complaint alleged.

The inspection of JPIL accounts showed that it had granted an advance of Rs 345.15 crore to group company Avantha Power and Infrastructure Ltd from the security money received from OBPL, but in the absence of account statements of JPIL, the money trail could not be established by the auditor, it alleged.

During an internal review of bank documents, Yes Bank found that the money given to OBPL for the security deposit to JPIL was used by it to clear loans of the Avantha group of Thapar.

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