ED Searches 3 Premises of Essel Group Companies in Rs150 Crore Religare Finvest Funds Diversion Case
Moneylife Digital Team 25 January 2024
The enforcement directorate (ED) on Thursday conducted search operations at three premises in Mumbai belonging to six companies from the Essel group and its former senior officials. The search operations were carried out in the matter of siphoning off or diverting Rs150 crore from Religare Finvest Ltd (RFL), a non-banking finance company (NBFC), from the Religare group. 
 
In a release, ED says, "The premises covered during the search operation belong to Konti Infrapower & Multiventures Pvt Ltd, Edison Infrapower & Multiventures Pvt Ltd, Asian Satellite Broadcast Ltd, Widescreen Holdings Pvt Ltd, Jayneer Capital Pvt Ltd, Sprit Infrapower & Multiventures Pvt Ltd and the residential premises of an ex-senior official of the Essel group. The search has resulted in the recovery of incriminating documents and recording of spot statements of the officials of the companies under the provisions of PMLA, 2002."
 
ED says it initiated an investigation based on a first information report (FIR) registered by the economic offences wing (EOW) of Delhi police, where RFL made allegations against four companies from the Essel group of hatching a criminal conspiracy for causing wrongful loss by defaulting on a loan of Rs150 crore. 
 
In March 2014, a loan of Rs150 crore was given in March 2014 to the group companies of Essel group. It includes Rs50 crore to Konti Infrapower & Multiventures, Rs40 crore to Widescreen Holdings, Rs50 crore to Edison Infrapower & Multiventures and Rs10 crore to Asian Satellite Broadcast. 
 
"The loan was defaulted by these companies by way of executing a fraudulent settlement agreement in January 2018 in connivance with the erstwhile management and officials of RFL and Oscar Investments Ltd," ED says.
 
Earlier this month, Subhash Chandra, founder chairman of the Essel group, wrote a letter to Union finance minister (FM) Nirmala Sitharaman, a week before Sony Group Corp called off the US$10bn (billion) merger between Culver Max Entertainment Pvt Ltd and Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL).
 
The letter alleges that efforts are ongoing to scuttle the merger with Sony. Mr Chandra wrote in his letter that he is not concerned about the probe by market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) but the timing of the new notice. 
 
"I am not suggesting that SEBI should not investigate if they have doubts of any kind," the letter stated, adding that the new notice does not contain any point which is not already part of the company's records, which have already been provided to SEBI.
 
"That said, if the mentioned parties continue to influence the investigation, especially by SEBI, it will lead to a huge financial loss for minority shareholders of ZEE," Mr Chandra wrote in his letter.
 
According to another report by CNBC-TV18 , SEBI may have zeroed in on the role of ZEEL's managing director and chief executive officer (MD&CEO) Punit Goenka in misuse of funds as key managerial personnel (KMP) in Essel group companies, and the investigation by the market regulator reveals that Rs800 crore to Rs1,000 crore may have been siphoned against its previous finding of Rs200 crore.
 
SEBI is likely to issue show-cause notices (SCNs) to Punit Goenka, managing director and chief executive officer (MD&CEO) of ZEEL and Subhash Chandra. "SEBI may have zeroed in on Mr Goenka's role in the misuse of funds as KMP in Essel group companies and could also impose a penalty on him. SEBI is likely to complete its probe in this matter over next two-three months," the report says. 
 
Earlier this week, Sony Group Corp called off the merger between Culver Max Entertainment Pvt Ltd and ZEEL. In the notice, Sony has asked for a termination fee of US$90mn (million) from ZEEL over an alleged breach of the merger cooperation agreement (MCA). 
 
In its notice terminating the merger announced on 22 December 2021, Sony group says the closing conditions of the merger were not satisfied by the end date.
 
It says, "The definitive agreements provided that if the merger did not close by the date 24 months after their signature date (the end date), the parties would be required to discuss in good faith...The merger did not close by the end date as, among other things, the closing conditions of the merger were not satisfied by then... Sony Pictures Networks India Pvt Ltd (SPNI) (now known as Culver Max Entertainment) has been engaged in discussion in good faith to extend the end date, but the discussion period has expired without an agreement upon an extension of the end date. As a result, on 22 January 2024, SPNI issued a notice to ZEEL terminating the definitive agreements."
 
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Comments
iaminprabhu
3 months ago
Essel, ZEE group all ALL COMPANIES related to these 2 Subhash Chandra, Punit Goenka & family needs yo be throughly INVESTIGATED by ES, IT, Finance Minusyry for Mismanagement of funds with Cross Holdings in several Subsiduaries in India and Outside !

It's a big BLACK HOLE waiting to be discovered where Dhareholders & Investors in last 2 decades are probably shortchanged & fooled!
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