In what has been claimed to be India's biggest financial scam, non-profit news organisation Cobrapost accused Dewan Housing Finance Corporation's (DHFL) promoters of siphoning off Rs 31,000 crore from the public.
The news portal made the allegation based on a sting operation headed by Aniruddha Bahal. Cobrapost made the claims at a press conference held in New Delhi on Tuesday, January 29.
Bahal, lawyer Prashanth Bhushan, BJP leader Yashwanth Sinha, former Aam Aadmi Party member Neil Terrence and journalists Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and Prem Shankar Jha were at the press conference.
How was the scam pulled off?
According to the report by the Cobrapost, the scam was carried out by getting loans sanctioned and then sending money to shell companies related to DHFL's stakeholders - Kapil, Aruna and Dheeraj Wadhawan.
The Wadhawans then rerouted the money to the companies directly under their control and the money was used to buy shares or equity in India, United Kingdom, Dubai, Mauritius and Sri Lanka. This was easy for the Wadhawans as they headed the finance division of DHFL and hence signed off on the loans.
The shell companies created had a nominal capital of Rs 1 lakh. Most of the companies also have the same addresses and auditors.
Cobrapost alleged that over Rs 21,477 crore of DHFL's funds were transferred to the shell companies without informing the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. Most of the money was transferred on the pretext of loans financing slum development projects. The loans were transferred in a single installment.
The Cobrapost article also states that the Wadhawans used some of the money to buy a Sri Lankan Premiere League cricket team. The money trail has disappeared into the dozens of shell companies they were pumped into and subsequently into companies associated with the Wadhawans.
What was the BJP's role in this?
Cobrapost said that companies under DHFL reported its donations to the Bharatiya Janata Party. It allegedly received donations worth Rs 20 crore.
The report further states that the party received Rs 19.5 crore between the financial years 2014-15 and 2016-17 from companies related to the Wadhawans - RKW Developers, Skill Realtors Pvt. Ltd and Darshan Developers Pvt limited.
RKW Developers did not show any donations between 2014-15, the portal said.