The CBI has booked the Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited (DHFL), its promoters and others for allegedly claiming interest subsidy under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), based on bogus loan accounts opened with its fictitious Bandra branch in Mumbai.
During a meeting with institutional investors and analysts, the accused persons had claimed that till December 2018, the company had processed 88,651 cases under the PMAY; received ₹539.40 crore in interest subsidy and was to get ₹1,347.80 crore more in subsidy from the Central government, amounting to ₹1,887.20 crore, on the loans reimbursed by it.
Among those named in the FIR are Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan, who are already under the scanner of multiple agencies for alleged bank frauds. Unknown officials of the National Housing Bank (NHB) are also under the scanner.
The PMAY was announced by the Central government in October 2015 and is managed by the Housing and Urban Development Ministry. The DHFL had granted loans under the scheme.
A forensic report by Grant Thompton — appointed by the present board of DHFL — revealed that its promoters had floated the fictitious Bandra branch, where fake housing loan accounts of the borrowers who had earlier repaid their loans were created in the database.
According to the FIR, about 2.60 lakh fake loan accounts were created in the non-existent branch between 2007 and 2019 for ₹14,046 crore loans, of which ₹11,755.79 crore were deposited or routed to several fictitious entities known as “Bandra book” firms, said the audit report.
Several of the bogus accounts were opened under the PMAY and interest subsidy as per the norms claimed from the NHB in connivance with its officials, committing fraud on the government exchequer, alleged the FIR.
Under the scheme, the financial institutions granting loans to economically weaker sections, low and middle income group members, for buying land, constructing houses, for development of dwelling units under slum development schemes and house purchases from private/public sector entities, are eligible for credit-linked interest subsidy.
The subsidy varies from 3% to 6.5% per annum and it is payable upfront with a cap of ₹2,30,156 to ₹2,67,280, depending on the category in which the borrower falls. The maximum loan amount eligible under the scheme is ₹24 lakh. The subsidy amount is claimed by the institutions from the NHB and reimbursed by the Centre from budgetary provisions.