The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday carried out fresh searches in Mumbai in connection with its investigation into the multi-crore Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services crisis, PTI reported. The agency searched the offices and residences of at least four IL&FS directors.
The agency had first carried out searches in February. The searches on Thursday are intended to collect additional evidence and documents, its officials said.
IL&FS, an infrastructure development and finance company, and its subsidiaries have a debt of Rs 91,000 crore, and are going through a resolution process. They defaulted on multiple loan repayments last year.
On Tuesday, IL&FS had said it had initiated the claims process from 70 group entities. “The new board of IL&FS, as part of the overall resolution process for the group, has initiated a comprehensive claims management process for 70 group entities,” the company had said in a statement. The firm has asked creditors of all 70 entities to submit proof of their claims in respect of liabilities due till October 15, 2018, to Grant Thornton India, its claims management advisor.
The Serious Fraud Investigation Office had in April arrested former Managing Director and Vice Chairperson of IL&FS Hari Sankaran. Sankaran, arrested in connection with investigation into defaults at IL&FS, was produced in a special court in Mumbai and sent to judicial custody. The Serious Fraud Investigation Office said that Sankaran granted loans to IL&FS subsidiaries which were not creditworthy, or were declared as non-performing assets. His transactions resulted in losses for the company and its creditors, the office added.
On May 2, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal allowed banks to declare defaulting IL&FS accounts as non-performing assets. However, the bench headed by NCLAT Chairperson Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya also clarified that the banks cannot initiate a recovery process for the debts due. NCLAT said that the firm’s lenders must not withdraw support until this process is completed.