CBI books DHFL over fake accounts created in PMAY

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a case against Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd (DHFL), its promoters Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan, and unknown public servants for siphoning off several thousand crore rupees in the name of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) by creating fake home loan accounts and claiming interest subsidy.

The agency has alleged that DHFL, already facing multiple investigations by various agencies, created 260,000 fake home loan accounts under PMAY for loans totalling 14,046 crore, of which it routed 11,755.79 crore to “several fictitious firms known as Bandra Book Firms”.

Subsequently, DHFL claimed interest subsidy of 1,887 crore from the Centre on the loans disbursed under PMAY.

PMAY, managed by the ministry of housing, was launched in October 2015. Loans are granted under the scheme to economically weaker sections for buying land and constructing houses, developing dwelling units under the slum development schemes, and purchasing housing units from public and private sector housing companies. The loans are eligible for credit linked interest subsidy, which varies from 3% to 6.5% per annum.

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The maximum loan amount eligible under the scheme is 24 lakh. The subsidy is payable upfront with a cap of 230,156 to 267,280 depending on the category in which the borrower falls. The subsidy is claimed by the financing institutions from the National Housing Bank, which is reimbursed by the Centre.

According to the first information report (FIR) registered by CBI on 15 March, DHFL was one of the housing finance companies that were granted loans under PMAY. The company, in a call with institutional investors, claimed that till December 2018 it had processed 88,651 cases under PMAY for which it had received 539.40 crore interest subsidy and has to receive interest subsidy of 1,347.80 crore from the government of India, according to CBI.

A forensic audit by Grant Thornton (GT) revealed that DHFL’s promoters had opened a fictitious Bandra branch of DHFL, where fake housing loan accounts of such borrowers, who had repaid their housing loans earlier, were created in the database.

“In total, 2.6 lakh fake and fictitious home loan accounts were created in the non-existent Bandra branch between 2007 and 2019 for total loan amounting to 14,046 crore, of which 11,755.79 crore was deposited/routed to several fictitious firms known as Bandra Book Firms,” CBI said in the FIR citing the forensic audit report.

The scam-hit financial firm has been under the control of the Reserve Bank of India through an administrator since November 2019 after its multiple irregularities came to the light.

Both CBI and the enforcement directorate (ED) filed chargesheets against DHFL promoters last year for paying 600 crore bribe to Rana Kapoor after Yes Bank invested 3,700 crore in short term debentures of DHFL between April and June 2018.

The agencies have claimed the DHFL never repaid the bank’s 3,700 crore.

Source: livemint.com

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