IL&FS first shocked markets when it postponed a $350 million bonds issuance in March 2018
Two former top executives of IL&FS have been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with its money laundering probe in the crisis-hit lending firm’s alleged financial irregularities case.
Former Joint Managing Director of IL&FS financial services Arun Kumar Saha and Managing Director of IL&FS Transportation Network K Ramachand were arrested this evening in Mumbai, making them the first arrests by the Enforcement Directorate in the case.
Taking cognizance of the Serious Fraud Investigation Office or SFIO chargesheet in the case, the agency registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), which is the equivalent of an FIR, to probe the money laundering allegations against the then top executives of IL&FS.
After registering the ECIR, the agency conducted searches at several premises linked to the then top executives of ILFS in and around Mumbai earlier today.
A senior official of the probe agency told NDTV, “PMLA investigation has revealed that Arun Kumar Saha and K Ramachand were involved in various illegal activities detrimental to the ILFS Group. They were involved in sanctioning and disbursement of loans without proper scrutiny, to the Groups which were already in financial distress and unable to pay earlier loans”.
The official also added, “They were also involved in routing indirectly the funds from IFIN (Financial unit of ILFS) to ITNL (Transportation Network of ILFS) through the third party who were the contractors of ITNL in flagrant violation of RBI norms”.
The SFIO, which was probing several irregularities in IL&FS, had filed a chargesheet on May 30 before the special court in Mumbai.
The SFIO had named Ravi Parthasarathy, Hari Sankaran, Ramesh Bawa, Arun Kumar Saha and K Ramachand among others as accused for various irregularities in its 800 pages chargesheet.
“Both Arun Saha and Ramachand were not cooperating and were evasive in their responses during questioning. Both the officials part of the top management and influential persons may try to influence the witnesses and tamper the evidences, hence both taken into custody,” added the senior official of the Enforcement agency.
Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services, a major infrastructure financing and construction company, has a total debt of Rs 91,000 crore and has been trying to sell its assets to repay debt after several defaults forced the government to overhaul its management.
The debt crisis at the infrastructure lender came to light after a series of defaults by its group companies from September last year.
The government took control of the heavily indebted infrastructure financing and construction group in October last year, following a string of defaults on debt obligations.
IL&FS first shocked markets when it postponed a $350 million bonds issuance in March 2018 due to demand for a higher yield from investors.
The Enforcement Directorate’s case is based on a First Information Report filed before the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Delhi Police in December last year.
The director of an infrastructure firm had filed the case against officials of IL&FS Rail Ltd for allegedly causing Rs 70 crore loss to his company by fraudulent means.
With inputs from PTI