DC Avanti car took loan as customers for own vehicles

DC Avanti car scam: Firm took loan as customers for its own vehicles

The owner of the car, Indermal Ramani, produced the ownership documents of the vehicle as registered with Chennai RTO, which were found to be genuine

Police personnel investigate the seized Avanti car of renowned car designer Dilip Chhabria after he was produced at Killa court in connection with cheating and forgery case, in Mumbai, Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020. Credit: PTI Photo

A day after the arrest of India’s leading car designer Dilip Chhabria, the Mumbai police on Tuesday claimed to have busted a major DC Avanti car scam involving financing and fake registration.

The 66-year-old Chhabria’s company—Dilip Chhabria Designs Pvt Ltd (DCDPL) had rolled out 120 DC Avantis—touted as India’s first sportscar, and sold to customers in India and abroad, majority of whom are high-net-worth individuals.

Dubbed as India’s maiden indigenously-made sports car, the DCDPL rolled out its first model in 2016, a year after securing approvals from the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI).

The Crime Intelligence Unit of Crime Branch-CID of Mumbai police has busted the scam.

The investigations were launched after the Mumbai police received a tip-off that a two-seater sports car DC Avanti, designed by Chhabria and allegedly bearing a fake registration number, was expected to reach the Hotel Trident at Nariman Point. However, it did not turn up.

Next day a similar trap was laid at the Hotel Taj Mahal at Colaba during which the car was intercepted.

The owner of the car, Indermal Ramani, produced the ownership documents of the vehicle as registered with Chennai RTO, which were found to be genuine.

However, upon further investigations, the police learnt that another car with the same engine and chassis number was registered in Haryana.

The CIU-Crime Branch widened the probe and found that multiple loans, averaging to Rs 42 lakh per vehicle, were taken on around 90 such cars by the DCDPL, posing as customers for their own manufactured vehicles.

Subsequently, these hypothecated cars were sold to other customers before or after availing the finance through the fraudulent means, and the exact quantum of loss to the government by way of unpaid taxes, customs duties, GST is being ascertained.

In this manner, the CIU suspects that the DCDPL—founded in 1993 and gone bankrupt in 2018—may have cheated many finance companies or NBFCs like BMC Financial Services.

It may be recalled, cricketer Dinesh Karthik had moved a consumer court in 2018 after Chhabria failed to refund Rs 5 lakh for a car booking. Chhabria was nabbed from his workshop in Andheri’s MIDC, sending shockwaves in the country’s automobiles and finance fraternity.