Beneficiaries of housing loans under probe agency scanner

Mumbai, Nov 25 (IANS) A day after nabbing top officials of state-run banks and financial institutions, the Central Bureau of Investigation Thursday turned the heat on several alleged beneficiaries of what it calls an all-India housing loans scam.

Officials at the probe agency said notices have been served on companies like Lavasa Corp, Mantri Realty, Sigrun, Pantaloons, Adalite, Mtech, OPG Group, Adani and others, seeking clarifications from them in the matter.

Hindustan Construction and Lavasa, part of the same group, admitted that Money Matters Financial Services — under the probe agency’s lens — was engaged by them. ‘But all our transactions are completely transparent and through cheque payments,’ the group said.

Besides Money Matters, its group companies also worked with reputed firms like Ernst and Young, SBI Caps and Rothschild, company officials said. Money Matters was an advisor for a property sale here, in which IL&FS Milestone Fund acquired a 74-percent interest.

‘HCC Real Estate paid a fee of less than 1 percent to Money Matters for coordinating this deal,’ the spokesman for the group added.

In the case of Lavasa, Money Matters is associated with the company on commission or brokerage basis, to the tune of 1-2 percent of the value of the transaction, the group said.

The premier investigative agency had Wednesday made eight arrests of top officials in LIC Housing Finance, Bank of India, Central Bank of India and Punjab National Bank in the alleged loan scam.

The CBI also questioned Money Matters Financial Services chairman and managing director Rajesh Sharma and two senior staffers. All the accused have been charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act and remanded to custody till Nov 29.

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