Officials revealed on Friday that the CBI filed a case of cheating and criminal conspiracy against Deccan Chronicle Holdings Ltd (DCHL) and its chairman T Venkatram Reddy, for allegedly defrauding United India Insurance Company Limited (UIIC) of Rs 30.5 crores.
The FIR dated 22nd March which was registered by the CBI, has further named former Chennai deputy general manager (investment department) of UIIC – A Balasubramanian, KL Kunjilwar – the erstwhile chief manager (investment department) of UIIC, Infrastructure Development Finance Company Limited (IDFC) and rating agency CARE as accused.
The CBI has accused the two aforementioned UIIC officials of making suspicions investments in “short-term unsecured redeemable non-convertible debentures” which were issued by DCHL in 2011 by violating regulations. Debentures are basically a loan certificate issued by a company which is not secured by a collateral. When it comes to “non-convertible debentures”, they cannot be exchanged for any form of equity in the company.
The CBI’s FIR has alleged that the UIIC officials misused their position to make investments in debentures issued by DCHL which weren’t repaid by the latter causing a loss of Rs 30.5 crores. The debentures had a maturing period of 364 days. It has been alleged that these debentures were solely arranged by IDFC limited.
The criminal conspiracy ranged from July – October 2011, when three Rs 10 crores debentures of DCHL were put up for investing by KL Kunjilwar at 11.25% interest. These were supposedly approved by A Balasubramanian and it has been alleged that UIIC didn’t do any separate risk analysis of its own before making the investment.
UIIC merely relied on the credit rating issued by CARE which was drastically downgraded within a year. It has also been alleged that UIIC officials made the investment in three batches in order to escape the scrutiny of their investment committee.
One of the other allegations is that DCHL issued three cheques of Rs 10 crore each which was dishonoured.
This trouble for Deccan Chronicle comes just a day after it was reported that NDTV had suffered a blow of its own after the Commissioner of Income Tax rejected its application for stay on tax demand. The Commissioner also instructed that the media group pay Rs. 131.04 crores, partly by way of adjustment of refund of Rs. 23 crores and partly in 3 instalments payable on 15th April, 15th May and 15th June 2018 of Rs. 36 crores, 36 crores and Rs. 36.04 crores respectively.