The Citizens Whistle Blower Forum has accused the Indiabulls group, the owners of the country’s second-largest housing finance company, of seeking to mislead the Delhi High Court and prevent an investigation into alleged financial irregularities that have come under question.
The Delhi High Court had earlier issued notice to the company based on a public interest litigation filed by the Forum, which represents whistleblowers around the country. Lawyer Prashant Bhushan is a trustee of the Forum. The PIL had accused one of the companies under the Indiabulls group of having round-tripped large sums of money by forwarding loans to a web of companies.
Following this petition, the Indiabulls group filed a counter petition in the case accusing the Citizens Whistle Blower Forum and Prashant Bhushan of perjury, claiming that the PIL had been filed without basic inquiry or research. The company alleged that a similar petition had been filed in June by Abhay Yadav in the Supreme Court and later withdrawn. Indiabulls also rejected the charges made in the PIL.
Responding to the perjury allegation, the Citizen Whistle Blower Forum said in its petition: “The averments of the accused company and its promoter in the application alleging perjury and application seeking dismissal of the petition are self-serving and designed to prevent a thorough investigation by Respondent statutory authorities.”
“The fact that various petitions on the same issue, as averred by the respondent company, were filed and thereby withdrawn, in fact, shows the clout and possible pressure or influence exercised by the respondent company that petitions are filed and withdrawn without being adjudicated by any court on merits,” the petition added.
The original PIL alleged that the web of companies relied upon by Indiabulls Housing Finance Limited, the country’s second-largest housing finance company, was used to bring money back to the group. It claimed that entities owned by the promoters did not have sufficient paid-up capital, business or assets to warrant such loans.
Five large group of companies were named in the petition: Anil Ambani’s Reliance ADAG; Americorp Group, promoted by Spain-based Non Residential Indian Harish Fabiani; the DLF Group; the Vatika Group and the Chordia Group, both involved in real estate business. The five group companies received, in all, loans worth over Rs 9,000 crore, the petition alleged.
“IBHFL [Indiabulls Housing Finance Limited] has been extending huge loans to various companies and these companies in turn are routing a substantial part of the money back as investment in equities to companies apparently belonging to the key-shareholders/promoters of IBHFL including Sameer Gehlaut, the founder and Chairman of IBHFL and his family members,” the petition alleged.
For more details about the PIL’s allegations as well as responses from some of the companies named in it, read this Scroll.in report.