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Yes Bank: ED to question corporate bigwigs over bad loans

Yes Bank: ED to question corporate bigwigs over bad loans

New Delhi: As the investigation into the Yes Bank crisis continues to reveal new details every day, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has now summoned the head of some of the biggest corporates in the country to question them over the bad loans raked up by their respective companies and their alleged connection to Yes Bank's implosion earlier this month.

Officials here have said beginning March 17, Essel Group Chairman Subhash Chandra, erstwhile Jet Airways chief Naresh Goyal, Reliance Group Chairman Anil Ambani, Cox & Kings promoter Peter Kerkar, Avantha Group promoter Gautam Thapar and the DHFL Group's Wadhawan brothers, will be questioned by the ED. The latter had earlier summoned Ambani to appear before its officials in Mumbai on Monday but the industrialist cited personal reasons and sought a different date after which he has been asked to submit for questioning on Thursday (March 19). Goyal and Chandra have been asked to appear on March 18, whereas Kerkar of Cox & Kings is to be questioned on the same day as Ambani. Avantha Group promoter Thapar has been directed to appear on March 21.

After news of his summons became public, Chandra posted on Twitter, saying the ED was already in possession of the relevant documents and materials and that he would "be more than happy" to be personally present for any questions the agency might have for him. "Essel Group has never made any transactions with Mr Rana Kapoor or his family or for that matter any private entities controlled by them," he added in a separate tweet.

After the crisis came to light, AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh had put out a list of Yes Bank defaulters, claiming these corporates had generously donated to the ruling party's coffers. According to a list released by Singh, he claimed that the Ambani Group's People Electoral Trust had donated more than Rs 20 crore to the BJP; Chandra's Essel Group had donated around Rs 40 crore to the party between 2017 and 2019 and the Wadhawans' DHFL Group had donated around Rs 19.5 crore to the BJP in 2014-15 and 2016-17. Singh had also pointed out that a group company of DHFL, RKW Developers had also donated Rs 10 crore to the BJP in 2014. RKW is also being investigated by the ED in a separate terror-funding case related to Dawood Ibrahim aide Iqbal Mirchi's properties in Mumbai.

Curiously, it has also been alleged that Rana Kapoor "had used" Reliance Capital to purportedly jack up the share prices of Yes Bank in its formative years, allegedly with the help of Madhusudhan Kela, who was at the time with the Reliance Group.

Companies of the Anil Ambani Group account for around Rs 12,800 crore of Yes Bank's NPAs, whereas Essel Group companies of Chandra for around Rs 8,400 crore. Kerkar's Cox & Kings and Go Travels have built up a debt of Rs 1,000 crore, DHFL and it's group companies a debt of around Rs 4,735 crore, Il&FS a debt of around Rs 2,500 crore, Avantha Group a debt of over Rs 1,500 crore and Goyal's Jet Airways had raked up around Rs 1,100 crore in bad loans with Yes Bank.

The ED has said that more corporate honchos will be summoned during the course of their investigation into whether the Kapoors received kickbacks in exchange for sanctioning large credit facilities to these companies.

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