MUMBAI: The CBI on Tuesday arrested businessman Ajay Navandar, an alleged associate of gangster Chhota Shakeel, in the Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd (DHFL) loan fraud case.
A CBI source said, “Navandar was in possession of super-luxury items and artefacts belonging to the erstwhile promoters of DHFL (Kapil Wadhawan and his brother Dheeraj Wadhawan aka Baba Dewan). Navandar was in the process of selling these items for the benefit of the Wadhawan brothers.”
The source further said the items were purchased through the loan money that the Wadhawan brothers had allegedly defrauded after manipulating DHFL books.
Last week, CBI officials searched the premises of Navandar where they reportedly found Rs 45 lakh unaccounted cash, paintings worth Rs 36 crore and 25 expensive watches.
The CBI and the ED investigated Kapil and Dheeraj in different cases registered by them, and one case connected with the late drug smuggler Iqbal Mirchi. The ED had arrested and chargesheeted the Wadhawan brothers in the Mirchi case and they are in jail custody.
While examining the details of Wadhawan brothers, the CBI came across their close associate Ajay Navandar. The CBI examined his details before deciding to raid his premises last weekend. Navandar is an influential businessman and known for his proximity to senior police officers and politicians, the CBI claimed.
The CBI is investigating Navandar’s alleged connection with fugitive terrorist Dawood Ibrahim and his aide Chhota Shakeel. It is examining if the Dawood gang though Navandar allegedly helped the Wadhawan brothers in layering of defrauded loan amounts.
Kapil with the help of his brother Dheeraj had availed credit facilities on the name of DHFL to the tune of Rs 42,871 crore from the Union Bank of India-led consortium of 17 banks. The brothers then allegedly diverted the money from DHFL to companies associated with them in the form of loans. Afterwards, DHFL defaulted on repayment of the outstanding loan amount of Rs 34,615 crore to the consortium.
According to the CBI’s FIR, on the instruction of Wadhawan brothers, DHFL had disbursed loans in favour of companies controlled by them. The FIR further said, “A part of the money had been diverted to companies controlled by the erstwhile DHFL promoters (Kapil and Dheeraj) and Sahana Group (of builder Sudhakar Shetty), where they also have prima facie financial interest.”