Yes Bank co-founder Rana Kapoor has told the Enforcement Directorate that he was “forced” to buy an MF Husain painting from Congress’ Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and the sale proceeds were utilized by the Gandhi family for the medical treatment of Congress president Sonia Gandhi in New York, as per the charge sheet filed by the federal anti-money laundering agency in a special court here.
Kapoor also told the ED that he was told by the then petroleum minister Murli Deora that the refusal to buy the MF Husain painting will not only prevent him from building a relationship with the Gandhi family but also prevent him from getting the ‘Padma Bhushan’ award .
The statements of Rana Kapoor are part of the second supplementary chargesheet (overall third) filed in the special court in Mumbai recently against the Yes Bank co-founder, his family, Dewan Housing Finance Limited (DHFL) promoters Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan, and others in a money laundering case.
Stating that he had paid a check of Rs 2 crore, Kapoor claimed that “Milind Deora (son of the late Murli Deora and former Congress MP) later conveyed to him confidentially that the sale proceeds were utilized by the Gandhi family for the medical treatment of Sonia Gandhi in New York”.
Kapoor also told the ED that Ahmed Patel, a close confidante of Sonia Gandhi, had told him that by supporting the Gandhi family at an opportune time for medical treatment of Sonia Gandhi, I (Kapoor) had performed a good deed for the family and it would be duly considered for the ‘Padma Bhushan’ award.
Murli Deora had tried to convince Rana Kapoor that the refusal to purchase the painting will also not permit him ever to build a relationship with the Gandhi family. It will also prevent him from getting the ‘Padma Bhushan award, as per the chargesheet.
The late Deora had told Kapoor at dinner that the failure to purchase the painting could have “adverse repercussions” on him and Yes Bank, Kapoor has claimed in his statement to the ED.
The banker is currently in judicial custody following his arrest in the case in March 2020.
“First of all I wish to state that it was a forced sale for which I was never ready”, the chargesheet said about the painting Kapoor allegedly purchased from Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
Milind Deora had made several visits to his (Rana Kapoor’s) house and office to persuade him for purchasing an MF Husain painting from Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
“He had even made me several calls and messages also in this regard from multiple mobile numbers. In fact, I was very much reluctant to go for this deal and I had tried also to avoid this deal several times by ignoring his calls/messages and personal meetings,” Kapoor told the ED, as per the chargesheet.
“Despite my best efforts to avoid this deal they were exceptionally persistent to finalize the deal rapidly,” Kapoor claimed.
He further stated that later, in the year 2010, Murli Deora forced him to meet him for a vegetarian dinner (Marwari dinner) at his Lodhi Estate Bungalow in New Delhi.
He was Petroleum Minister at that time and had been allotted this bungalow in that capacity, Kapoor said, as per the chargesheet.
“During the meeting, the late Murli Deora told me in no uncertain terms that any further delay in purchasing the above-said painting could have adverse repercussions on me and my Yes Bank and it could jeopardize my relationship with the Deora family,” Kapoor said .
“Simultaneously, he had tried to convince me that he will also not permit me ever to build me a relationship with the Gandhi family,” the banker added.
Further, in the statement, Kapoor claimed, “He (Murli Deora) had also told me that any deviation on my part for the lack of closure of the deal will definitely prevent me from getting awarded the ‘Padma Bhushan’ for which, according to him, I was highly serving at that time”.
“Under this threat and against my family’s wishes, since we are not high-value Art Collectors, I could not afford to invite any form of enmity with the two powerful families involved and thus I had to hesitatingly proceed given the looming and overhanging threat involved ,” Kapoor told ED, as per the chargesheet.
Kapoor told the ED that formalities for closing the deal were held at Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s office.
“Milind Deora had actively coordinated this final closing meeting. I wish to state that for this deal, I had made a payment of Rs 2 crore through a check of my personal account in HSBC Bank,” he added.
Kapoor said a few weeks after the deal, Milind Deora conveyed to him confidentially that the sale proceeds were utilized by the Gandhi family for the medical treatment of Sonia Gandhi in New York.
“After a few months, while I (Kapoor) was visiting the residence of (late) Ahmed Patel, a close confidante of Sonia Gandhi, I was informed independently by him that by supporting the Gandhi family at an opportune time for medical treatment of Sonia Gandhi I had performed a good deed for the family and it would be duly considered for the ‘Padma Bhushan’ to me,” the chargesheet said.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has alleged that Rana Kapoor and Dewan Housing Finance Limited (DHFL) promoters Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan had siphoned off funds worth Rs 5,050 crore through suspicious transactions.
The ED had started its investigation after recording ECIR on March 3, 2020, and after the probe began, Rana Kapoor aggressively tried to dispose of his overseas properties to save them from being attached by the ED under PMLA, the charge sheet said.
The POC involved in this case is Rs 5,050 crore. While Rana Kapoor is the founder of the said company namely DUVPL, his three daughters are 100 per cent shareholders therein.
Rana Kapoor is currently in judicial custody following his arrest in the case in March 2020. The Wadhwans too are in jail custody after their arrest in another case.