The Enforcement Directorate has filed its first charge sheet in the IL&FS alleged illegal payment default crisis case even as it has attached assets worth about ₹570 crore, officials said on Saturday. They said a prosecution complaint or charge sheet has been filed under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) before a special court in Mumbai on Friday. The charge sheet details the roles of the directors and others in allegedly perpetrating the funds crisis and alleges corrupt practices were adopted by them that led to financial bunglings.
The central agency also issued a provisional order for attachment of assets, under the PMLA, and attached bank accounts and immovable properties located at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Brussels, Belgium. These assets, commercial and residential, are held by the committee of directors of IL&FS Financial Services Ltd (IFIN) Ravi Parthasarathy, Ramesh Bawa, Hari Sankaram, Arun Saha and Ramchand Karunakaran, the ED attachment order said. Saha and Karunakaran were arrested by the agency in June. The bank accounts and immovable properties held "indirectly" by Aircel founder C Sivasankaran, in the name of his family members and group companies, have also been attached, they said.
The total value of the provisionally attached properties is worth about Rs 570 crore. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had filed a money laundering case in this incident in February this year on the basis of an FIR filed by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Delhi Police. The agency, in its probe and in the charge sheet, said the senior management of IL&FS indulged in acts of commissions and omissions leading to illegal personal gains to them at the expense of the company.
"In criminal conspiracy with each other and promoters of various private entities, they have in flagrant violation to the prudent and established norms, sanctioned and disbursed huge loans to the companies which were already under financial stress and defaulted on repayment of loans earlier taken from IFIN, an IL&FS subsidiary," the ED alleged. The ED said in order to maintain the credentials of IFIN so that they could continue to receive high remuneration, the directors allegedly falsified the accounts and indulged in"circuitous transactions" to artificially boost the balance sheet of IL&FS group, whereas actually these illegal activities were leading to further losses to the group.
"By adopting the same modus operandi, in criminal conspiracy with Sivashankaran, they fraudulently financed various companies of Siva Group out of which Rs 494 crore remained outstanding," the ED said. It said between 2015-16 to 2017-18 financial years, the financials of IFIN were showing a negative trend, in spite of that the performance related pay, deputation cost and commission that these members of senior management received increased substantially.
"It was also seen that the shares of ILFS Limited were transferred to employee welfare trust (EWT) at a very concessional rate which sold these shares of IL&FS held by it, to various entities outside the group at a huge premium and later distributed the cash so generated to the employees of which larger chunk was received by these persons," the ED said. This was despite the fact that the trust was running in operational losses, it said. The agency is expected to file more charge sheets as the probe progresses.