The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is probing the role of property valuers in the cash-for-loans scam. Developers acquire loans for projects the value of their property mortgaged to banks. Property valuers, that are often realty firms, play a crucial role because banks decide the loan amount based on their valuation of the property.

A CBI officer, requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media, said the agency has found that in many cases, valuers inflated the worth of the land to get higher loans sanctioned for developers. “We will go through the documents pertaining to the constructions groups’ loan transactions with banks to find out the basis on which they were sanctioned hefty loans,” the officer said.

The CBI suspects companies bribed valuers to get favourable valuation certificates.

The CBI has arrested officers of nationalised banks and financial institutions for allegedly accepting bribes from companies for clearing loans. Financial services provider, Money Matters, allegedly facilitated the dealings.

The agency suspects that the officers of these banks and the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India accused in the case were aware of the inflated valuation of land mortgaged.

P Kandaswamy, head of CBI’s Mumbai Zone (II), said many things are to be investigated but refused to comment further.

A CBI officer, requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media, said the agency has documents showing that the officers accused in the scam had sanctioned loans worth at least Rs 2,000 crore in the last two years in return for kickbacks. The officer alleged that Money Matters helped companies show inflated project costs to demand higher loans.

The CBI has at least one lakh recordings of conversations between Rajesh Sharma, chairman and managing director, Money Matters, Mumbai, his colleague, Sanjay Sharma, Naresh K Chopra, secretary (investment) LIC, Mumbai, Ramchandran Nair, director and CEO, LIC Housing Finance, Mumbai, and some other accused, over the past year.

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