Did Wadhawans siphon off PMC loans via firms registered in tax havens?

Updated: Oct 10, 2019, 07:11 IST | Sanjeev Shivadekar | Mumbai

A complaint sent to the PMO and ED on Wednesday alleges that HDIL's father-son duo routed money via dubious firms abroad

Sarang Wadhawan who is currently under arrest in the PMC Bank scam. File pic
Sarang Wadhawan who is currently under arrest in the PMC Bank scam. File pic

A Mumbai activist has alleged that the promoters of Housing Development and Infrastructure Limited (HDIL) used shell companies that featured in the Panama Papers to siphon off money into their personal kitty. Rakesh Wadhawan and son Sarang, both under arrest, are being investigated by Mumbai police's Economic Offences Wing for allegedly siphoning off R6,500 crore in unreturned loans via several dummy accounts.

Anti-corruption activist Niraj Gunde, in his complaint to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and the central Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday alleging that the Wadhawans are linked to several companies registered in tax havens, and which featured prominently in the Panama Papers.

Sarang Wadhawan and his father Rakesh who are currently under arrest in the PMC Bank scamRakesh who is currently under arrest in the PMC Bank scam

HDIL is alleged to have cleaned up more than 70 per cent of PMC Bank's total assets using more than 21,000 dummy accounts since 2008. The fraud came to light only last month when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) put the bank under administration and capped withdrawals by depositors.

In his letter, Gunde has said that the ED needs to probe link of the HDIL promoters and companies mentioned in Panama Papers. The Panama Papers is the name given to over 11 million financial documents detailing (mostly illegal) offshore holdings of wealthy individuals from across the world. The documents, which were leaked in 2015, named several Indian businessmen and celebrities.

"I have given a list of companies registered abroad and that were named in the Panama Papers leak, and which are allegedly linked to HDIL's promoters," Gunde told mid-day. "The ED needs to collate further details and build a strong case against these people for allegedly siphoning off funds through companies registered aboard."

Asked why he is complaining about the case only now, Gunde said he had brought several dubious companies named in the Panama Papers to the attention of central agencies last year, but nothing seems to have been done about them.

"Last year, I had urged central agencies to look into Indian companies with links to entities named in the Panama Papers," said Gunde. "But, I assume there was no action on the same. I hope now at least investigating agencies take this case and other complainants related to Panama Papers seriously and take them to a logical conclusion."

No. of dummy accounts that HDIL had used to siphon off PMC Bank funds

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