A fund of SAIF Partners has moved the National Company Law Tribunal, accusing venture capitalist Chintalapati Srinivas Raju and his firms of accounting fraud and siphoning off money from a company where the private equity firm had made an investment.
On the complaint, the Hyderabad bench of the NCLT restrained Associated Broadcasting Company Ltd (ABCL), the operator of the TV9 bouquet of satellite TV channels, from selling its shares or assets until further orders, a usual practice by any adjudicating authority to protect the interests of the petitioners airing serious concerns over the safety of their investments. Raju and his associates controlled ABCL with a nearly 82% stake, which they recently agreed to sell to a consortium of two Hyderabad-based infrastructure groups for around Rs 460 crore. TV9 chief executive Ravi Prakash and other employees own around 18% of the broadcaster.
SAIF Mauritius sought to block the deal, claiming that the funds it invested ten years ago in IVision Media, another company controlled by Srini Raju, were given to ABCL as interest-free loans without its consent and as part of a ploy to siphon off the money.
Raju denied any wrongdoing, and also told ET that the NCLT interim order wouldnâ??t affect him since he had already completed the sale of the stake. According to his interpretation, the NCLT order was to ABCL, restraining it from selling its shares in subsidiaries or assets.