IL&FS crisis: ED files first chargesheet in the case; attaches assets worth Rs 570 crore
BusinessToday.In August 17, 2019
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) Friday filed its first prosecution complaint or chargesheet in the alleged multi-thousand crore scam involving IL&FS. It has also attached the company's assets worth around Rs 570 crore. The chargesheet has been filed under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) before a special court in Mumbai.
The probe agency has named Ravi Parthasarthy, Ramesh C Bawa, Arun K Saha, Hari Sankaran, K Ramchand, IL&FS Financial Services Ltd and Siva Group's C Sivasankaran.
Sivakaran has also been investigated in Aircel Maxis case by ED and CBI.
The ED has accused the credit rating agencies for not doing due diligence on their part. "Investigation also revealed that credit rating agencies were pressurised for favourable ratings. Chief Rating Officers of ICRA has also accepted that they were being pressurised by Saha, Parthasarathy and Bawa for favourable ratings. The rating officer of ICRA stated that IFIN (IL&FS Financial Arrives Limited) would have different rating if those facts were disclosed to them. The members of CoD (Committee of Directors)of IFIN maintained high rating under the parentage of IL&FS," as per the chargesheet.
The chargesheet contends complicity between the company's top management and Sivasankaran. The probe agency in the chargesheet has also alleged that the employees were offered the IL&FS shares at a nominal price. However, the group later facilitated the sale of same shares to LIC at a very high cost, hence providing making huge gains.
The ED also claimed that the swindled amount was distributed in cash to the employees where the larger chunk was taken by the Committee of Directors (CoD). IL&FS did all this despite the trust was already incurring operational losses.
The chargesheet further alleges that the CoD in March 2018 authorised and disbursed loans over Rs 2270 crore to various third parties for financing ITNL (IL&FS Transport Network). This move came along despite RBI's order in November 2017 directing IFIN not to give any more finance to its group companies. Since the said sanction and disbursal of Rs 2270 crore is a scheduled offence, it thus is constituted as Proceeds of Crime
"There is a considerable hike in receivables from IFIN and ILFS by R Parthasarathy, Hari Sankaran, Vibhav Kapoor and Arun Saha whereas Ramesh Bawa has received a high amount of Performance Related Perquisite (PRP) which is usually given on the basis of profit earned by any company. It is clear that there was a substantial hike in PRP and sitting fees of the members of CoDs in the last consecutive of three Financial years when there was already substantial liquidation crisis in ILFS Group," ED claimed in the chargesheet.
According to the probe agency, the money, later on, was further taken out from the IL&FS Employee Welfare Trust (EWT). The trust was made with the objective of the welfare of the employees. Albeit, the CoDs altered the trust deed several times and also strategised to siphon off the money from the trust in the process in the garb of distributing IL&FS and other group concerns' shares and sale of shares and distribution of profits to the employees.
IL&FS Group ratified over Rs 494 crore loan to Siva Group between December 2011 to 2018 in different group companies. ED has attached properties of Siva group namely SIVA Industries & Holdings Ltd (Rs 100 crore), SIVA Ventures Ltd (Rs 270 crore), SIVA Compulink Ltd (Rs 35 crore), Also Ltd (Rs 40 crore), and SIVA India Commercial Traders Pvt Ltd (Rs 55 crore), against the pledging of 7.85 Crore unlisted shares of Tata Tele Services Ltd. in March, 2019.