The Enforcement Directorate(ED) has attached yet another 14 immovable properties worth ₹ 122.15 Crore belongs to the promoters of Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited (DCHL) in connection with Rs 8,180 crore bank fraud case.
According to the ED, with this a total of Rs 264.56 Crore worth properties had been attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA). The attached assets belong to M/s Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited (DCHL) and two of its former promoters namely T Venkatram Reddy and T Vinayakravi Reddy and that of a Benami company floated by them. The 14 properties are located in New Delhi, Hyderabad, Gurgaon, Chennai, Bangalore etc.
The assets attached so far have been covered under the NCLT process. The ED has commenced its investigations under the PMLA against DCHL and its management in the year 2015 following 6 FIRs and corresponding charge sheets filed by CBI, BS&FC, Bangalore. Another charge sheet has been filed by CCS Police Hyderabad and prosecution has also been filed by SEBI against DCHL which is currently under the CIRP process through which a resolution plan of only Rs 400 Crore has been approved by the NCLT.
The investigations also revealed that the three promoters of DCHL PK Iyer, T Venkatram Reddy and T Vinayakravi Reddy hatched a conspiracy and manipulated the balance sheets of the company inflating the profits-advertisement revenue and grossly understated the financial liabilities of the company to paint a rosy picture for years to cheat the Banks and its shareholders. Balance Sheets of the company were fudged and loans taken from one Bank were hidden from other financial institutions. The DCHL has availed credit facilities for years to the tune of more than Rs 15,000 crore illegally.
The investigation has also brought to the light that most of the loans were cyclically rotated into group companies and were diverted to pay back older loans. Loans taken for working capital requirements and for business needs of DCHL were diverted to extravagant projects and the diverted funds which were so invested into new projects without the consent of the Banks and were ultimately shown as losses.
The loans taken from the banks were diverted into other subsidiary units which have not done any legitimate business and also into the proprietary concerns of the two ex-promoters without any proper accounting. It is also revealed that the accused promoters received hefty kickbacks from the investment made by DCHL into Odyssey Advertising at highly inflated values. The promoters ran the public listed company DCHL as their proprietary concern throwing all norms of corporate governance to wind. There were many suspicious donations to various Trusts.
ED investigation under PMLA has further revealed that despite the initiation of the CIRP process, the accused promoters of DCHL and their close family members continue to hold indirect control over the print media and continued drawing huge monthly salaries and are enjoying high-end vehicles which were registered in the name of DCHL which were seized from their possession.
It was also found that the promoters have re-purchased the mortgaged assets at discounted rates through private treaties by using concealed proceeds of crime through a front company.
Further investigations are on in the case, said the ED.