The CBI has recovered paintings of Indian maestros FN Souza and SH Raza worth Rs 5.50 crore during a fresh round of searches related to India’s biggest bank fraud involving DHFL, officials said.
SH Raza’s 1956 oil-on-canvas painting titled ‘Village’ worth over Rs 3.50 crore and FN Souza’s 1964-untitled oil-on-linen piece valued at Rs 2 crore were among the luxurious items worth Rs 12 crore seized by the agency, they said.
The central agency has also seized two uber-luxury watches of Jacob and Co and Frank Muller Geneve totalling about Rs 5 crore during searches, it said in a statement.
The CBI is conducting custodial interrogation of former CMD of DHFL Kapil Wadhawan and Director Dheeraj Wadhawan for the last nine days during which it emerged that they had purchased these paintings from a noted art auction house at Fort in Mumbai, the officials said.
After coming to know where these items were kept, the CBI conducted searches and seized the assets, they said.
According to officials, the CBI also recovered gold and diamond jewellery, including bangles and necklaces, estimated to be worth Rs 2 crore.
Nearly 20 days ago, the CBI recovered Tyeb Mehta’s painting ‘Bull’ worth over Rs 27 crore and an untitled piece by Manjit Bawa estimated to be valued at over Rs 7.7 crore.
Mehta and Bawa’s pieces were among a large number of paintings and sculptures, altogether valued at Rs 40 crore, cash and incriminating documents seized, the CBI had said in a statement.
“During the investigation, it was found the promoters had allegedly diverted the funds and made investments in various entities. It was also alleged that the promoters had acquired expensive paintings and sculptures using the diverted funds,” it had said.
The federal probe agency had booked Dewan Housing Finance Ltd, the Wadhawan brothers and others on June 20 in a bank fraud case worth Rs 34,615 crore, making it the biggest such case probed by the agency, officials said.
It was alleged that they had cheated a consortium of 17 banks led by Union Bank of India by siphoning off Rs 34,615 crore bank loans by diverting them using falsified account books of DHFL.
They allegedly used shell companies and a parallel accounting system known as ‘Bandra Books’ to siphon off public funds in DHFL by disbursing money to fictitious entities as retail loans.
The agency acted on a complaint from Union Bank of India, the leading bank of the consortium which had extended credit facilities to the tune of Rs 42,871 crore to DHFL between 2010 and 2018.
The bank has alleged that the Wadhawans in criminal conspiracy with others misrepresented and concealed facts, and committed a criminal breach of trust to cheat the consortium by defaulting on loan repayments from May 2019 onwards.
The audit of DHFL account books showed that the company allegedly committed financial irregularities, diverted funds, fabricated books, and round-tripped funds to “create assets for Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan” using public money.
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