THE CBI on Wednesday arrested Ajay Ramesh Nawandar, a close aide of Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan, in connection with its probe into the Rs 34,000 crore DHFL loan fraud case.
On July 8, the agency had searched Nawandar’s residence in Mumbai and seized paintings worth over Rs 40 crore. In another search the next day, it recovered luxury watches worth several crores.
Sources said the paintings recovered included those by Tyeb Mehta and Manjit Bawa among others. CBI sources said agency investigations have revealed that Nawandar had purchased these paintings on behalf of the Wadhawans. “The paintings had been bought from proceeds of crime. He was trying to dispose them to save them from being seized by investigating agencies,” a CBI official said.
Following the July 8 searches, the CBI had said in a statement, “During investigation, it was found that the promoters had allegedly diverted the funds and made investments in various entities. It was also alleged that the promoters had acquired expensive paintings and sculptures worth about Rs 55 crore using the diverted funds.”
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The searches then had been also conducted on the premises of Wadhawan aide Rebecca Dewan which led to recovery of some cash and other incriminating documents, the CBI claimed.
Last month, the CBI had booked 13 persons, including Wadhawans, for defrauding a consortium of 17 banks of over Rs 34,000 crore, making it the biggest-ever loan fraud in the country. Until now, the-led PNB loan fraud (13,000 crore) and ABG Shipyard loan fraud (Rs 20,000 crore) were considered to be the biggest.