"All damage caused to DB Realty was because of this case.
"The banks were not coming forward to assist us.
"Especially the poor and people from the lower-income group were seriously affected."
Soon after a special CBI court acquitted all those accused the 2G spectrum allocation case, Somesh Jha spoke to DB Realty managing director Vinod Goenka at the crowded Patiala House premises.
While most politicians, bureaucrats and corporate preferred to study the order before giving their comments, Goenka was among the few who spoke up about how his business was impacted by the 2G case. Excerpts:
What is your reaction to the court’s ruling?
I think justice has prevailed. The court has used some strong words in the order. However, I think the CBI will approach the high court.
Is there any compensation that you will seek?
Our company (Swan Telecom) had paid licence fee (for 2G spectrum) and now that we have been exonerated, we need to see if the licence fee will be refunded.
We will examine the legal recourse.
How did your business get affected after the string of cases by investigative agencies?
All damage caused to DB Realty in the last seven years was because of this case.
DB Realty will be back with a big bang. All avenues will open up.
Can you explain in detail how your business deals were affected?
First, no banks were willing to come forward to give financial assistance to us and the projects were stalled as banks pulled out in a jiffy - within days after the CBI case - from projects which were even 70-80 per cent complete.
All the (construction) sites came to a grinding halt - 11 in Mumbai and one in Pune.
We must have been developing more than 5 million sq ft at the time when our construction was affected by this case.
What was the impact of the banks’ pulling out?
The banks were not coming forward to assist us.
And this was happening at a time when we had at least 3,500 booked flats.
Especially the poor and people from the lower-income group were seriously affected as we were selling all the flats at Rs 2,500-3,000 per sq ft.
The price shot up to Rs 4,000 a sq ft.
How big were the loans?
The banks cancelled loans worth around Rs 3,000 crore if all the projects are considered.
Only two banks - HDFC Bank and YES Bank - came to our rescue.
One of the hotels we were building in Goa was almost 95 per cent complete and these two banks stood solidly behind us.
What was the monetary loss?
It’s difficult to ascertain the loss caused to our company due to the case in monetary terms as of now.
What is next for your company?
We have a large inventory of unutilised land and we will start looking at them.
Photograph: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters