The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered a case against Unitech founder Ramesh Chandra, and his sons – Sanjay and Ajay Chandra – for allegedly defrauding Canara Bank of Rs 198 crore, PTI reported on Sunday. The CBI carried out searches at multiple locations at the premises of the accused.
In a complaint filed last month, the Canara Bank alleged that the real estate firm, which had been its customer since 1971, had defaulted on multiple payments, and had diverted, siphoned off and misappropriated funds.
Citing a Supreme Court-ordered audit of the company’s accounts, the bank said that Unitech had collected Rs 14,270 crore from 29,800 home buyers. But, 5,036.05 crore of this amount had not been utilised for the construction of 74 identified residential projects, it said.
The audit revealed that Unitech secured Rs 1,805.86 crore from six financial institutions, including Canara Bank and, of this, Rs 763.0 crore had not been correctly utilised. The bank further alleged that between 2007 and 2010, three Unitech subsidiary companies had made investments to the tune of Rs 1,745.81 crore in 10 companies in Cyprus. The audit report also showed “unexplained write-off of investments and advances to related parties, diversion of funds to offshore tax havens” and related companies, it said.
The Canara Bank added that as directors of the company, Sanjay Chandra, Ramesh Chandra and Ajay Chandra had given personal as well as a corporate guarantee to the bank and had mortgaged properties as collateral security, according to the Hindustan Times. But the company allegedly illegally sold the properties mortgaged as collateral security without informing the bank.
“Unitech has committed breach of trust and, without any authority to deal with mortgaged properties, has illegally and with malicious manner created third-party rights, thereby clearly diverting receivables for their personal gain,” the Canara Bank said in its complaint, according to NDTV.
Unitech used to be a construction giant before the company got embroiled in the 2G spectrum scam. The company is facing multiple investigations by various agencies, including the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Enforcement Directorate and the Delhi Police.
The recent allegations against Unitech and its executives comes days after Sanjay Chandra was released from Tihar jail on December 4, as a trial court in Delhi granted him interim relief for four weeks on medical grounds.
Both Sanjay Chandra and Ajay Chandra, who are the managing directors of Unitech, were arrested in April 2017 for allegedly siphoning off over Rs 5,000 crore from home buyers in the company’s “Wild Flower” and “Anthea” projects. The realty firm failed to complete housing projects in Greater Noida and Gurugram in the National Capital Region, and did not refund the money to buyers along with interest. It had promised to hand over possession of the flats in 2012.
On January 20, the Supreme Court had accepted the Centre’s proposal to take over the management of the real estate firm, providing relief to around 12,000 home buyers. The bench gave two months to the new board that would be formed to submit a report on a resolution framework. The top court added it would appoint one of its former judges to monitor the preparation of the framework.