Essel group chief Subhash Chandra joins Yes Bank probe

Mumbai: Essel Group chief, Subhash Chandra appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money laundering case against Yes Bank Ltd. cofounder Rana Kapoor.

Chandra had earlier cited his Rajya Sabha commitment for not appearing on Wednesday following which the federal agency issued a fresh summon and asked him to join the investigation on Saturday.

According to sources, Chandra reached the agency’s Ballard Pier office at 11am and is expected to be questioned till evening.

Earlier this week, the agency had issued around 18 notices to corporate houses including promoters and key officials like Anil Ambani, Subhash Chandra, Naresh Goyal, Gautam Thapar, Sameer Gehlaut and Peter Kerkar apart from DHFL’s Wadhawan brothers Kapil and Dheeraj.

Yes Bank is currently in the process of being rescued by State Bank of India and other investors. The sources pegged the loan exposure of the Anil Ambani-led group at Rs.12,800 crores, Essel Group at Rs.8,400 crores, DHFL at Rs.3,700 crores, Avantha at Rs.1,900 crores, Jet Airways at Rs.550 crores and Indiabulls at Rs.425 crores as of December 31.

While so far only Ambani and Kerkar have joined the probe, Gehlaut, Wadhawans and Goyal have cited COVID-19 as the reason behind not being able to travel and therefore join the investigation.

“The reason the agency has taken a top-down approach is because we suspect that these influential people might change the colour of the evidence and therefore it is necessary to question them first before calling in the senior key managerial officials,” said an official. “They are being asked why they sought loans from Yes Bank, the decision behind investing in the bank and the collateral that was given for the loans sanctioned to Kapoor-linked firms.”

According to people privy to the details, Ambani was not able to recollect the transactions he was asked to share details on and sought more time. The agency asked him to appear again before it on March 30. “For all questions asked, he said that he needs more time to respond since he does not remember all the transactions. He has been asked to come back on March 30,” said an official.

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