Political Economy

Cobrapost Alleges Promoters of Dewan Housing Finance Siphoned Off Public Money

Cobrapost has claimed that over Rs 21,000 crore of DHFL’s funds were moved to a network of shell companies under the guise of loans and investments.

New Delhi: News website Cobrapost has alleged that the primary promoters of Dewan Housing Finance Ltd (DHFL), a non-banking finance company, siphoned off over Rs 30,000 crore in public money to a network of shell companies.

The publication on Tuesday held a press conference over what they claimed was “India’s biggest financial scam”.

The Wire has not independently verified Cobrapost’s claims.

Cobrapost has claimed that over Rs 21,000 crore of DHFL’s funds were moved to a network of shell companies, under the guise of loans and investments, without any of the terms declared to India’s corporate affairs ministry.

Also read: How Targeting of Shell Companies Can Be Strengthened

Former finance minister Yashwant Sinha and senior journalist Prem Shankar Jha also attended the press conference, along with Cobrapost’s editor Aniruddha Bahal.

Gujarat and Karnataka funding

The publication also noted that during its probe, it had discovered that DHFL had allegedly sanctioned and disbursed loans to companies in Gujarat and Karnataka, around the time that state elections were happening.

In Gujarat, the NBFC allegedly disbursed a total of Rs 1,160 crore to a number of Gujarat-based companies. Cobrapost claims that most of these projects have been put on hold or suspended by local municipal corporations and that the loans were sanctioned against no debt equity.

DHFL response

In a late-evening statement, Dewan Housing noted that it was a “response and law-abiding corporate citizen” and that it was “confident of meeting any scrutiny on any aspect of our operations”.

“… All loans are disbursed in the normal course of business in accordance with industry best practices and in compliance with all regulatory norms,” the statement noted.

“This mischievous misadventure by CobraPost appears to have been done with a mala fide intent to cause damage to the goodwill and reputation of DHFL and resulting in erosion in shareholder value,” it added.