ED continues to grill former UB Group CFOs for 2nd day

CFOs questioned for 9 hours; we want to know where money has gone, said an ED official

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday for the second day questioned officers of the UB group. Former Chief Financial Officers of the UB group, Ravi Nedungadi and A Raghunath, were questioned for nine hours at the Ballard Estate office of the ED.

Vijay MallyaVijay Mallya

The ED’s investigations revolve around the bank loans that the grounded airlines and the group took from a consortium of nationalised banks, and an alleged default of over R900 crore loan from IDBI bank. “We want to know where the money has gone,” said an ED official. The ED has also summoned Vijay Mallya to appear in court on March 18, which they haven’t got an answer to.

The ED had issued summons to over half a dozen officials of the IDBI bank and Vijay Mallya-owned KFA under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). In an communication sent to all field officers, the Income Tax department has asked its officials to not “send or pursue” any tax demands or harass former Kingfisher Airlines employees. The employees have alleged that they were under tax scanner as Kingfisher had failed to deposit the tax deducted at source (TDS) with the income tax department.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “explanation” over how business tycoon Vijay Mallya could leave the country which he claimed was not possible without “approval” from the top. Meanwhile, Janta Dal Secular minister Deve Gowda supported Mallya and called him the “son of the soil”, and former J&K chief minister Farook Abdullah said Mallya was a “gentleman” and would return to India on his own.

— With agency inputs

KFA employees write to PM to recover dues
Hundreds of unpaid employees of the defunct Kingfisher Airlines have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking his intervention in the recovery of their dues which was estimated to be around R300 crore.

“On behalf of all the employees of erstwhile Kingfisher Airlines, we request you for your immediate intervention in helping us recover our hard earned dues,” the employees said in the letter sent to the Prime Minister on Saturday.

Sebi clamps down on defaulters
Coming out with strict steps to protect investor interest, Sebi on Saturday decided to bar willful defaulters from raising public money as well as holding board positions, besides making it must for listed firms to disclose impact of audit qualifications in a separate document.

To curb malpractices in the securities and commodities markets, the watchdog will boost surveillance mechanism and enhance the supervision of brokers and other intermediaries. The issues pertaining to control at the time of acquisition of listed entities and mutual funds' exposure to distressed debt securities were also discussed at the Sebi's board meeting, which went on for more than an hour here.

The board approved the regulator’s budget for 2016-17 and also discussed the plan for action for the same period. Cracking its whip on ‘wilful loan defaulters’, Sebi has decided to ban them from raising public funds through stocks and bonds as also from taking board positions at listed companies, a move that would disqualify the beleaguered Vijay Mallya from various posts.

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