In an affidavit submitted to the Delhi High Court, the Citizens Whistle Blower Forum stated that Yes Bank, a private-sector lender founded by Rana Kapoor, advanced “dubious” loans amounting to at least Rs 5,698 crore to various companies of the Indiabulls group and others owned by its founder and promoter, Sameer Gehlaut. Publicly available documents reveal that many of these loans were issued after the respective companies had reported a negative net worth. The affidavit stated that “in order to return the favour,” Indiabulls Housing Finance Limited (IHFL), the flagship of the Indiabulls group, lent a sum of Rs 2,034 crore to seven companies owned, directly or through subsidiaries, by family members of Rana Kapoor, who is also the promoter of Yes Bank.
The affidavit noted that 14 companies part of the Indiabulls group received loans from Yes Bank. In effect, the affidavit accused Yes Bank of lending money over the course of a decade while Rana was at its helm, and stated that in turn, IHFL routed money into companies controlled by Bindu Kapoor, Rana’s wife, and their daughters, Radha, Rakhee and Roshni—as a result, converting public money into private wealth.
Gagan Banga, the vice chairman and managing director of IHFL, told me that ten of the 14 companies are owned by Gehlaut and have no other connection to the Indiabulls group. The other four companies—Indiabulls Housing Finance, Indiabulls Ventures, Indiabulls Distribution Services and Indiabulls Consumer Finance—are part of the Indiabulls group. According to the figures in the affidavit, Yes Bank lent at least Rs 2,698 crore to the ten firms owned by Gehlaut and Rs 3,000 crore to the four Indiabulls companies. The Indiabulls group has submitted its response to the allegations, accusing the petitioners of “misleading” the court and noting that as of 21 October, only Rs 1,417 crore was outstanding, while the rest had been paid back.
The Citizens Whistle Blower Forum is a civil-society collective that provides a platform to whistleblowers and litigates on their behalf. It submitted this affidavit in an ongoing public interest litigation, which it had filed in early September. The PIL had stated that IHFL disbursed loans via similar circuitous routes to several large business groups. These included the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, and real-estate powerhouses such as the DLF Group, the Vatika Group and the Chordia Group. Cumulatively, the PIL and the affidavit accuse the Indiabulls group of disbursing questionable loans to the tune of over Rs 11,000 crore.
The CWBF submitted the affidavit before the Delhi high court on 31 October, after the petitioners “received certain more information” about the transactions between Indiabulls and Yes Bank. However, the forum had made the same allegations in an earlier submission to the court. In response to the original PIL, the Indiabulls group had denied the allegations, and filed an application seeking the initiation of perjury proceedings against the CWBF. On 22 October, as part of its reply to the perjury application, the forum had first raised the allegations concerning Yes Bank and Rana Kapoor. The next day, the Indiabulls group filed a rejoinder to that application, in which it also responded to these allegations.