DHFL’s Rs 7,500 crore funds stuck in eight big Mumbai realty projects

One of the biggest projects in the lot is One Mahalaxmi, a 5-acre residential development at Jacob Circle promoted by Neelkamal Realtors (D B Realty).

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Eight Mumbai-based realty firms owe over Rs 7,500 crore to Dewan Housing Finance Ltd, the beleaguered housing finance company taken over by the Piramal Group recently.

According to documents made available, DHFL promoters Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan, who are currently in jail, had provided construction finance to these builders for residential housing projects in Mumbai, which are now shown as ‘non-performing assets’ (NPAs).

Property market sources said the Piramal Group has started scouting for reputed and financially solid developers to take over these stalled projects and recover the money. A Piramal spokesperson said the group would not like to comment “at this point in time”.

One of the biggest projects in the lot is One Mahalaxmi, a 5-acre residential development at Jacob Circle promoted by Neelkamal Realtors (D B Realty). In February, DHFL had issued a demand notice against this firm and its borrowers, Shahid Balwa, Vinod Goenka, Sanjay Chhabria among others, for failing to pay outstanding dues totaling Rs 1,189 crore. “The loan account has been classified as NPA,” said the demand notice, which gave the borrowers 60 days to pay up. Balwa did not respond when asked to comment.

The biggest borrower on the DHFL list is Radius Group, with an outstanding loan with interest of around Rs 3,000 crore for a residential project in Santa Cruz (west) called Avenue 54. The project is a joint venture between Radius and Sumer Group. This redevelopment of the prime 5-acre Willingdon Catholic Colony located on S V Road is believed to be the most expensive residential gated community in the western suburbs. Over 150 people had booked luxury apartments in the under-construction towers, paying on an average, a hefty Rs 55,000 a sq ft. DHFL has shown this project as an NPA, but only on custody of Radius share of 50% in the form of a conveyance deed executed for the land.

A Radius spokesperson said DHFL had disbursed close to Rs 2,000 crore for the project, but then stopped releasing more money. As a result, the project stalled and fell through, he said.

Incidentally, in 2019, Avenue 54 was taken over by Yes Bank after the developer, Sumer Radius Realty, failed to repay a Rs 479-crore loan.

Another large loan sanctioned by DHFL was to a little-known builder named D K Realty India for a residential project called Livsmart in Kurla. The loan sanctioned was Rs 967 crore but has increased to over Rs 1,100 crore with principle interest, penal interest and accrued interest. The project comprising 28 towers and 1,582 flats, has stalled and the loan declared as NPA.

Another lesser-known developer, Rajen Skyscrapers, was sanctioned over Rs 600 crore for a society redevelopment, Palm Land, in Bandra (west). The project never took off and total outstanding is now over Rs 750 crore.

The Wadhawans also sanctioned Rs 13,500 crore as loans for three slum redevelopment projects (SRA) in Juhu Gully, Irla and Chembur. Documents accessed show that as of August 2020, DHFL had sanctioned construction finance totalling Rs 13,623 crore, mortgage loans of Rs 7,444 crore and corporate loan finance of Rs 15,159 crore. All these loans were mainly given to builders across the country.

Last month, the Reserve Bank of India approved Piramal Group’s takeover of DHFL for Rs 37,250 crore.