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CBI probes Nawandar’s role in DHFL bank fraud

Mumbai: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is examining the role of Ajay Nawandar, alias Ajay Maheshwari— believed to be a close aide of D-Company’s Chhota Shakeel—in its ongoing investigation of a case related to the alleged loss of Rs42,871 crore (approx) to a consortium of 17 banks led by Union Bank of India.

Touted to be the biggest financial case on CBI’s current list, the agency has so far recovered Rs45 lakh cash, few incriminating documents along with 25 high-end watches, paintings, and sculptures worth around Rs40 crore during a search of Nawandar’s premises. Nawander is reportedly connected to the trail in the money laundering case of the Dewan Housing Finance Ltd (DHFL) through financing of Bollywood films under the Swiss Entertainment Pvt Ltd banner. The agency is investigating how Nawandar aka Maheshwari used his contacts to get former DHFL promoter Kapil Wadhawan admitted to Mumbai’s Kokilaben Ambani Hospital for several months, despite a diagnosis of viral flu.

Thousands of crores of rupees were poured into Nawandar’s accounts as he flouted his political bigwig connections in various bureaucratic channels. The central probe agency believes that the money transferred to him can prove to be harmful to the country’s interests, due to his connection with Chhota Shakeel of DCompany. The agency is ascertaining whether Dawood and his associate Chhota Shakeel benefited from that money, said a CBI source.

It is also under question whether Nawandar played a key role in siphoning off loans availed from various banks by DHFL, falsifying the company’s books, as well as, creating shell companies (false entities) that came to be known as ‘Bandra Book Entities’. With the CBI decoding all suspicious financial transactions made by Nawandar, it is also working to solve the DHFL fraud. Its former CMD Kapil Wadhawan, Director Dheeraj Wadhawan and others had availed credit facilities totalling Rs42,871 crore from a consortium of 17 banks. The brothers diverted the money from DHFL to firms associated with them and also to Nawandar, in the form of loans. From there, the money was put into making multi-starrer Bollywood films. The agency is also looking at possible money laundering done by the D-Company on behalf of DHFL through hawala channels with Nawandar’s assistance.

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