The Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is probing the IL&FS case, has discovered that the now-bankrupt company's senior management interfered in IL&FS group firms' ratings review seeking their upgradation on many occasions. While the rating agencies did alter the ratings of several companies, they did not take into account the undertakings' financial stress, the ED found.
The probe agency's findings indicate towards a lack of checks and balances, the Business Standard reported. ED is reviewing the role of credit rating agencies regarding the IL&FS money laundering case.
As per the ED's investigators, then senior management of IL&FS comprising Ravi Parthasarathy, Arun Saha and Hari Sankaran used to engage in talks with ICRA's analyst team to get "desired things", the report said.
Three eminent credit rating agencies, Moody's subsidiary ICRA, CARE Ratings, and Fitch Ratings' wholly-owned subsidiary India Ratings and Research, had granted AAA rating to IL&FS, which points towards the highest level of creditworthiness.
These ratings were there when its subsidiary IL&FS Transportation Networks defaulted in June last year. Whereas, IL&FS was downgraded to D rating in August, which made the company's debt junk. Meanwhile, both ICRA and CARE have asked their MD and CEO to go on indefinite leave pending an enquiry against them in the matter.
"Pending the completion of the examination of the concerns raised in the anonymous representation that was forwarded to the company by Sebi, the board decided to place Naresh Takkar on leave, effective immediately," ICRA had also said in its regulatory filing.
In the course of the ED interrogation, ICRA claimed that it was unaware of the funding of IL&FS Financial Services (IFIN) and IL&FS Transportation Networks (ITNL) through third party. According to the report, ICRA told ED that it did not know about the prohibitions enforced by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). While asserting that it did not have any knowledge about the dilution of collateral securities, ICRA told the ED that the IFIN management claimed that it had sufficient collateral against the exposure, the report stated.