Yes Bank’s former CEO Rana Kapoor says was forced to buy painting from Priyanka

Apr 23, 2022 11:47 PM IST

The statement is part of a supplementary charge sheet filed by ED to the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act court in Mumbai

Mumbai Yes Bank founder Rana Kapoor has claimed in a statement to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that he was pushed to buy a MF Husain painting from Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, and that he was promised one of the country’s top civilian awards in return.

Yes Bank founder Rana Kapoor (Satish Bate/HT Photo)
Yes Bank founder Rana Kapoor (Satish Bate/HT Photo)

The statement, recorded by ED on March 9 and 10, 2020, added that the sale was facilitated by senior Congress leader Murli Deora — a fact that has been previously reported.

It adds that a few weeks later after the purchase, senior Congress leader, the late Ahmed Patel, had appreciated his “good deed” and informed him that he (Kapoor) would be “duly considered” for a major civilian honour, and “possibly some non-political banking and finance assignments”.

This statement is part of a supplementary charge sheet filed by ED to the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Mumbai in April 2022. HT has reviewed a copy of it. To be sure, both Deora and Patel have passed on and there is no way of verifying Kapoor’s statement.

Kapoor did not win any major civilian honour.

However, the sale of the painting, a portrait of former PM Rajiv Gandhi by Husain, has been previously reported, and confirmed. ED initiated money laundering proceedings against Rana Kapoor, his wife, daughters, Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd (DHFL) promoter Kapil Wadhawan and some Yes Bank officers in December 2019 on the basis of a cheating case registered by the Lucknow police against DHFL.

According to ED, Yes Bank had between April and June 2018, invested 3,700 crore in DHFL’s short-term debentures and subsequently also sanctioned a loan of 750 crore to a DHFL subsidiary. In return, DHFL gave Kapoor 600 crore in kickbacks in the forms of loan to Do It Urban Ventures Pvt Ltd, a firm controlled by Rana Kapoor and his family members.

In March 2020, CBI also registered a case alleging that Rana Kapoor extended financial assistance to DHFL to get substantial undue benefits for himself and his family members via companies held by Kapoor and his family.

In his statement, the former Yes Bank MD and CEO said his association with the Deora family goes back to the late 1990s.

“The only time I ever had any business dealings/meetings with the Deoras was at the time of sale of one M.F. Husain’s painting by Mrs. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to me during the period 2010-12,” he said in the statement. Kapoor said he never met anyone from the Gandhi family.

Deora was the petroleum minister at the time, and the Congress-led UPA was in power at the Centre.

“As far as closing of the deal is concerned, I state that the paperwork, payment formalities and painting handover was done in the office of Mrs. Priyanka Gandhi in New Delhi,” Kapoor said, adding that both he and Gandhi were represented by others at this meeting.

In response to HT’s queries, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s office said that they had not seen Kapoor’s statement, supposedly made by an accused person in custody of an agency that answers directly to the Union government, and declined further comment.

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