Indian car designer Dilip Chhabria was arrested earlier this week in a cheating and forgery case. Now more details about the alleged scam involving the DC Avanti has been unearthed, according to the police.
Dilip Chhabria will remain in custody till Jan 2, 2021 | Pic Credit: Mid-Day
Indian car designer Dilip Chhabria was arrested earlier this week in Mumbai in a cheating and forgery case, and now more details about the allegations have been revealed. The alleged scam is to the tune of ₹ 40 crore and could increase up to ₹ 100 crore, according to Joint Commissioner of Mumbai Crime Branch Milind Bharambe. It involves the DC Avanti sportscar too that was designed and developed by the 68-year-old’s firm DC Design, now known as DC2. Chhabria is currently in police custody till January 2, 2021. Here’s what we know so far about the DC Design founder’s arrest and the case at large.
Also Read: DC Design’s Dilip Chhabria Arrested In Mumbai In A Cheating And Forgery Case
The Mumbai Police was first tipped off about a sportscar running on a bogus number plate in the city. A trap was laid to nab the vehicle at the Trident Hotel at Nariman Point, but the car never showed up. A similar trap was laid the next day at the Taj Hotel in Colaba, where the car was then seized. The owner produced the documents of the DC Avanti, which were found to be genuine with the car registered in Chennai. However, further investigation revealed that another car with the same engine and chassis number was registered in Haryana. The owner was then made a complainant in the case.
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The Crime Investigation Unit (CIU) of the Mumbai Crime Branch’s preliminary investigation revealed that DC Design posed as a customer to purchase their own cars and avail loans from Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) such as BMW Financial Services for the DC Avanti. About 90 cars were used for fraudulent financing for a loan of about ₹ 42 lakh on each car. These cars were then registered in another state before selling them to a third party. Many of these loans were later declared Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) by the NBFCs.
Further investigation shows that Chhabria hypothecated 41 cars with BMW Financial Services and about 16 cars were never registered with the Regional Transport Office (RTO). Mumbai Police have also accused Chhabria and his firm of having registered the same car multiple times in different RTOs of different states and then use the registration numbers to obtain more loans on the same car.
The Crime Branch is now investigating the quantum loss to the government exchequer that’s been caused by the scam by virtue of non-payment of taxes such as GST and customs duties.
Also Read: DC Avanti Sports Car: Made-In-India, For India
Dilip Chhabria Designs Pvt. Ltd. (DCDPL)
The firm was incorporated on June 14, 1993, and has been known for its bespoke creations right from car modifications, luxury vanity vans, and customised interiors. The firm also works with OEMs for design inputs and to build prototypes. Chhabria’s name is also associated with the DYPDC Center for Automotive Research and Studies in Pune, for undergraduate and post-graduate programs in Automobile Design and Innovation.
At the centre of this scandal is the DC Avanti that was marketed as India’s first homegrown sportscar. The Avanti was a creation of DC Design and priced at ₹ 35 lakh (ex-showroom). The two-seater rear-engined coupe was launched in 2015, powered by a Renault-sourced 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with 180 bhp and 340 Nm of peak torque. The Avanti can sprint from 0-100 kmph in 6 seconds and the motor is paired with a 6-speed manual gearbox. The preliminary investigation reveals that DC sold a total of about 120 Avanti sportscars in India as well as other countries.
Also Read: DC Avanti Review
However, this isn’t the first time the DC Avanti’s name was embroiled in a controversy. Previously, cricketer Dinesh Karthik had moved to consumer court in Chennai, filing a complaint against Chhabria over the dealership’s failure to refund the booking amount of ₹ 5 lakh paid for a car worth ₹ 34.9 lakh.
Chhabria has been booked under Sections 420, 465, 467, 468, 471, 120(B) and 34 of the Indian Penal Code or IPC. More details of the case are awaited in the days to come.
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