Speak Asia’s financial advisor and the man behind the money transfer from India has confessed that the company’s ‘business plan’ was nothing but a Ponzi scheme, which works with continuous enrolling of investors and replaces them as they suffer losses and quit the scheme
Speak Asia's troubles seem to be not ending with the recent confession of its financial consultant Sanjeev Dandona to the Economic Offences Wing (EOW), that the company was indeed running a Ponzi scheme. Earlier in 2002, Mr Dandona (along with seven other people) was charge-sheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for allegedly issuing forged permits to new auto-rickshaws in New Delhi. But more about that later.
"He (Mr Dandona) has confessed that the company was running a Ponzi scheme," an official close with the investigation of Speak Asia, which had duped people on the pretext of promising income for merely filling e-surveys, told Moneylife.
Mr Dandona was arrested by the EOW on 29th September, after it was learnt that he was the proxy owner of Kritanj Management & Allied Services and is linked with Speak Asia. Kritanj Management is the master distributor of Singapore-based Haren Ventures Pte Ltd (HVP) for e-zines in India. Mr Dandona is also alleged to be advising HVP and Tulsient Tech Pvt Ltd and also transferring funds collected by Speak Asia agents to Singapore.
Just the day after the arrest of Mr Dandona, it was revealed that the online surveys, which Speak Asia used to claim (and its agents used to believe), were actually created not in Singapore, but in Mumbai. This was revealed following a confession from Nayan Khandor, a Web designer and director of Dadar (central Mumbai)-based Brand Salon, that his firm was active in creating the online surveys for Speak Asia.
According to an investigation officer, Mr Khandor confessed that he was given the task of creating online surveys and designing the e-magazine by Speak Asia's chief executive Manoj Kumar Sharma and has been involved in this job since February 2010. The material seized from Mr Khandor's office also indicates his close relation with Speak Asia.
Coming back to Mr Dandona—he was earlier charge-sheeted by the CBI along with seven other people, including three officials from the Transport Department of Delhi Government for allegedly issuing forged permits to new auto-rickshaws. Last year in May, Justice Vipin Gandhi of the Delhi High Court dismissed Mr Dandona's petition saying, "Prima facie, his involvement appears to be deep-rooted. It cannot be said that on the basis of the allegations contained in the charge-sheet the petitioner W.P (Crl.) 586/2010 Page 15 of 16 may not have been involved in the criminal acts attributed to him. Consequently, I see no merit in this petition and dismiss the same."
Ravishankar, with more than 20 years of experience, was till most recently the CFO and then the MD and the CEO of Geometric Ltd
TVS Capital Funds Ltd, the asset manager of TVS Shriram Growth Fund, a Rs 600 crore mid-cap growth fund, has expanded its leadership team with the induction of G Ravishankar. Ravishankar joins the team as an executive director & CFO.
Ravishankar, with more than 20 years of experience, was till most recently the CFO and then the MD and CEO of Geometric Ltd, an engineering services company. At Geometric, he played a crucial role in turning around the company. Prior to joining Geometric, Ravishankar has held various positions in General Electric India (GE) for about 14 years, where his last position was as the CFO of GE Healthcare, South Asia. He was with GE's Financial businesses earlier, where he culminated his tenure as the vice president and head of risk for their consumer finance wing.
Ravishankar is a chartered and cost accountant with bachelor's degree in chemistry.
About his joining TVS Capital Funds, Ravishankar said, "Private equity is the next logical step to build my career as it is a platform to make an impact professionally and contribute to India's entrepreneurial growth story. TVS Capital Funds' mission of "empowering nextgen entrepreneurs" while giving superior returns for investors is something that I found very attractive. I look forward to helping the firm create the top private equity AMC in India. It will be a privilege to work with its marquee investors, growing portfolio companies, the entrepreneurial management team and its eminent board and advisory members."
D Sundaram, vice chairman and MD of TVS Capital Funds said, "We are delighted to have Ravishankar joining us as Executive Director & CFO. With his experience he will add tremendous value to our organization's capabilities. We wish him all the best".
Global ratings agency Moody's on Tuesday downgraded its rating of SBI's financial strength by one notch to 'D+' on account of the lender's low Tier-I capital ratio and deteriorating asset quality
New Delhi: The government has asked State Bank of India (SBI) to explain the reasons behind the downgrade by global ratings firm Moody's, reports PTI quoting the bank's chairman, Pratip Chaudhuri.
"The government has asked us to give report on reasons for the downgrade," Mr Chaudhuri told private news channel CNBC-TV18 in an interview.
Global ratings agency Moody's on Tuesday downgraded its rating of SBI's financial strength by one notch to 'D+' on account of the lender's low Tier-I capital ratio and deteriorating asset quality.
"It is a downgrade of a small segment of the bank's debt," Mr Chaudhuri said, adding SBI's overall rating is still a notch above sovereign rating.
Mr Chaudhuri also said the State Bank of India's (SBI) rights issue will restore the bank's rating.
"We will get capital from government by December or March next year," he said, adding, "...expect SBI's capital adequacy to be above 9% by March 2012."
As per Moody's, a 'D' rating suggests "modest intrinsic financial strength, potentially requiring some outside support at times", while a 'C' rating denotes "adequate intrinsic financial strength".
Moody's cited a likely rise in the bank's non-performing assets in the near future as one of the reasons for the downgrade.
The stock continued to be an underperformer in today's trade, as well, and was down 2.38% to Rs1,744.20 on the BSE in late morning trade, after hitting a fresh 52-week low of Rs1,731.40 earlier.