IL&FS Mess: SFIO Investigation Throwing Up New Dirt on IL&FS Dealings
The Serious Frauds Investigation Office (SFIO) is meticulously trying to unravel the dubious loans granted and round-tripped by Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS) by seeking information from all borrowers on their links with the 346 entities in the failed infrastructure and finance conglomerate. 
 
This exercise itself is throwing up several interesting revelations, including the role of scores of Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officers and their relatives who seem to be embedded in the group, including directors and chief executives (CEOs) of several subsidiaries of IL&FS. 
 
The failure to supervise IL&FS is, probably for the first time, not so much a political scam as that which was sanctioned and buried by the bureaucracy. That is probably why the investigation into what happened at IL&FS is proceeding at a very slow pace. 
 
Sources inside IL&FS point out that CS Rajan, who has been appointed the managing director (MD) on 3 April 2019, was extremely close to the IL&FS top management and helped cement their equation with the Rajasthan government when he was chief secretary there. 
 
Hence, despite the arrest of Hari Sankaran, former vice-chairman and MD of IL&FS, there is a general sense that the government is not serious about investigating why this sprawling institution with the massive outstanding debt of almost Rs99,000 crore is not being investigated and resolved with the same seriousness as relatively smaller defaulters such as Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi. 
 
IL&FS is being investigated by three entities—the SFIO, the enforcement directorate (ED) and the forensic audit team of Grant Thornton, working on Project Icarus. Project Icarus first exposed the nature of round-tripping and suspicious deal by IL&FS Financial Services Ltd (IFIN) with other entities within the group, joint venture partners, borrowers and others and the suspicious nature of many loans. 
 
The SFIO seems to be taking this forward by sending out a list of questions to all borrowers of IFIN seeking following information. 
 
a) List of loans taken by you in all your entities. 
 
b) Reason for taking the loan.
 
c) Whether you approached IFIN for a loan or whether an official from IFIN approached you to offer a loan.
 
d) Whether your books/accounts were utilised for lending to you and then asking you to lend the money further to any other entities in the IL&FS group. If so provide details. 
 
e) Copy of bank statement evidencing loan disbursal and its utilisation (with copies of utilisation certificate).
 
f) Whether you had any relationship, including financial relationship with any individual in IL&FS group entities. If so provide details.
 
g) Whether you had sold/disposed off any assets including real estate property, through any of your group entities or even third parties to any officials of the IL&FS entities.
 
h) Ledger accounts of all the loans taken/given by you from/to IFIN or any other IL&FS entities.
 
i) Any other issues / document relevant to the said transactions.
 
At least in one case reviewed by us, these questions have led to the disclosure of how the company has been defrauded by IL&FS. We are withholding its name to prevent a backlash against it.  
 
The company has informed the SFIO about how IL&FS and entities related to it had allegedly defrauded the group and caused financial damage by delaying loan disbursements. 
 
The borrower goes on the name a retired IAS officer who heads the lending entity, and remains a director on several joint ventures with the Tamil Nadu government. 
 
Meanwhile, lakhs of investors are worried about the fate of their life savings invested through private pension funds and mutual funds.  All these investment institutions were fooled by the AAA credit rating enjoyed by the group until the very day that Moneylife reported the first default to SIDBI
 
We have also discovered that the government had issued sovereign guarantees to this company run by a small self-serving cabal and has been quietly paying up on its behalf without a word of disclosure in the public domain. 
 
Comments
Ramesh Poapt
2 years ago
ML/SD were perhaps first to report much earlier.
parinita seth
2 years ago
I had been in the audit team of the IL& FS group companies , during my CA training period and after , as u can guess I fought with my team and the management for proper scrutiny of evidence , my senior partner told me just do a random work and don't mess they are powerful people and wouldn't let u pass CA exams .
But I thought I am a good student I would crack the CA final easily, so it just 10 years now every time I fail in finals with 3 -4 marks and now I know why they were doing this to me.
If at that time proper scrutiny had been done this would have come out 10 years ago.
terence lewis
Replied to parinita seth comment 2 years ago
Bluffing
Veeresh Malik
Replied to parinita seth comment 2 years ago
Why not write a more definitive essay on this subject? And do your Law studies in paralel is what I would suggest.
tanay
2 years ago
Why has Ravi Parthasarathy still not been arrested!
SANJEEV
2 years ago
Please remember there are hundreds of individual investors in ILFS and IFIN preference shares and bonds. They don't have resources to fight this giant company backed by bureaucrats. Staring at loss of life savings made seeing LIC, SBI, HDFC as promoters and Triple AAA ratings. No one is helping us. Or even responding.
SURAJIT SOM
2 years ago
This was -in all probability-a criminal organisation by the bureaucrats, of the bureaucrats and for the bureaucrats-ex or otherwise. Naturally many of them are IAS-retd or otherwise. It is not surprising that many of them were ( and are )part of our state-led "socialist "economy. They are, in many ways, comparable to commissars in formerly communist countries- in Russia -for example. This investigation will not go far. It is indeed amazing that is has come so far. Under UPA, it would not have been exposed.
k vijaya bhaskar
Replied to SURAJIT SOM comment 2 years ago
Look at how Adani group got 5 airports under PPP without Cabinet approval!
k vijaya bhaskar
Replied to SURAJIT SOM comment 2 years ago
default on repayment to SIDBI started the chain reaction. It would have happened anyway, under UPA or NDA. Corrupt bureaucracy is not specific to socialist economies -- it is very much there in highly industrialised, capitalist economies.
S Balakrishnan
Replied to SURAJIT SOM comment 2 years ago
There was no need to expose.
It collapsed by itself
SURAJIT SOM
Replied to S Balakrishnan comment 2 years ago
Did it ? The old cabal led by Hon'ble Mr Ravi appointed Hari Sankaran as the new boss !!!! This HS even presided over an AGM !!! Thereafter Govt took over. This honourable person is now in jail. This means citizens-like me or you -are paying for his food, lodge,medical etc !!!
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