Owners of bogus brokerage involved in Rs 4,122 cr DHFL case held in UP

The Uttar Pradesh Police arrested two persons for allegedly operating bogus brokerage firms and facilitating investment of UP Power Corporation (UPPCL) employees’ provident fund (PF) in private mortgage lender Dewan Housing Finance Corporation (DHFL).

The economic offences wing (EOW) of the police is currently probing the case. About Rs 4,122 crore of the PF corpus was parked with scam-hit DHFL between March 2017 and December 2018, in violation of norms.

The arrested have been identified as Manoj Goyal and Ishant Agarwal. They were interrogated by the EOW on Friday. 
Later, they were arrested when the investigators found gaps in their statements in light of the documentary evidence already in the custody of cops.

According to sources, the arrested duo are chartered accountants (CAs) and operate multiple brokerages. 

Many of these are fictitious and were floated solely for the purpose of earning commission by fixing unscrupulous investment deals.

With these two arrests, the number of accused arrested by the EOW so far has risen to 14, including three serving or suspended UPPCL officials. 

The state has recommended a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe, although the central agency is yet to take over the case.

On December 6, the EOW had arrested seven accused, including a senior DHFL official, a CA and alleged owners of the bogus brokerage firms. 

Last month, the cops arrested then UPPCL managing director A P Mishra, now retired, apart from suspended officials Praveen Kumar Gupta and Sudhanshu Dwivedi in the high-profile case.

While Rs 4,122 crore was invested in DHFL, about Rs 2,267 crore is still to be repaid by the company. It has already been barred by the Bombay High Court from making fresh repayments owing to the ongoing Enforcement Directorate (ED) probe for alleged money laundering.

Last month, the Yogi Adityanath government had also undertaken to ensure payment of the outstanding investment in DHFL. This is in case the tainted non-banking financial company (NBFC) failed to fulfill its commitment.

According to the UP government order, the state would first harness legal avenues to secure the PF investment in DHFL. Failing this, the UPPCL would be asked to arrange for funds out of its own resources to repatriate the corpus. 

In case the power utility also fails to mobilise funds, the state government would offer interest-free loan to the UPPCL to make up for the purported loss.

Meanwhile, the state has started the process of disinvesting the PF corpus in two other NBFCs as well, that is, LIC Housing Finance and PNB Housing Finance. The proceeds would be invested in other public sector financial institutions in accordance with the norms.

The 45,000-odd UPPCL employees had long been demanding that the Adityanath government issue a gazette notification undertaking to ensure repayment. 

While Rs 4,122 crore was invested in DHFL alone, PF investments were also parked in LIC Housing and PNB Housing with investments in the three NBFCs being Rs 6,600 crore.