IN DHFL CASE
COURT REJECTS DISCHARGE PLEA OF VALUER
A special court rejected the discharge plea of a valuer accused in the alleged corruption and fraud case involving DHFL and Yes Bank. Special Judge SU Wadgaonkar noted that the material is prima facie reasonable that connects him with the crime, thus no grounds exist to discharge him and on the contrary, there is prima facie evidence and circumstance on record to proceed against him.
A special court Tuesday rejected the discharge application of a valuer booked in the alleged fraud case involving DHFL and Yes Bank, saying there was sufficient prima facie evidence to infer that he submitted an inflated valuation report to benefit the housing finance company.
Sunil Chaudhary, named as one of the accused in the case by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), was alleged to have conducted a valuation of two flats in Nariman Point and vacant land in Alibaug. While the CBI claimed the valuation was inflated to benefit DHFL, Chaudhary in his discharge plea said that it was done on the basis of a recognized method of future development. He submitted there was no fraudulent intention but the valuation was done on the basis of the possibility of development in the future to derive the value of the land.
The court said that when he was appointed as a valuer of DHFL, he was expected to make a fair and just valuation. “In fact, the Valuation Report placed by applicant/accused was not realistic, as and where basis and the valuation on future projection basis were done on the projects, which was being financed by M/s DHFL to assess the actual value of the project after completing the development of the project. Here, in the case there was no project to be developed at that site,” special judge S U Wadgaonkar said in the order.
Chaudhary was added as an accused in the agency’s supplementary charge sheet filed in the case. The CBI alleged that he had submitted an inflated valuation report to facilitate the crime. He had also allegedly given an inflated valuation of a flat located at Nariman Point in South Mumbai, which was offered as collateral for the loans, said the CBI.
In his application seeking a discharge from the case, Chaudhary had said that the valuation prepared by him was based on future projection, which is recognized in the field. He claimed that he had no fraudulent intention in preparing the valuation reports. He also pointed out that the loans taken based on these reports had been paid in their entirety.
The special court attending the matter said that according to the prima facie material on record, Chaudhary had valued two flats at Nariman Point in 2017 at Rs. 69 crores. It also noted that he had valued a vacant land in Alibaug at Rs. 253 crores, whereas its valuation similarly was Rs. 31 crores in 2017.
Further, it stated that payment of the loan itself does not exonerate him from criminal liability. Special Judge SU Wadgaonkar noted that the material is prima facie reasonable that connects him with the crime, thus no grounds exist to discharge him and on the contrary, there is prima facie evidence and circumstance on record to proceed against him.
“These circumstances are sufficient to infer that pursuant to the criminal conspiracy with fraudulent intention, applicant/accused submitted inflated valuation report. It was only done to facilitate the borrower and M/s DHFL in conspiracy to extend pecuniary benefit in garb of business loan,” said the judge.
The CBI has filed a case against Yes Bank founder Rana Kapoor, DHFL promoters Dheeraj and Kapil Wadhawan along with others claiming that Kapoor extended financial assistance to DHFL fraudulently in lieu of undue benefit to himself and his family. The central agency alleged that on the basis of inflated collateral security, a loan was given by DHFL to DOIT Urban Ventures, allegedly linked to Kapoor’s family members.