CG Power: Mails show deliberate attempt to deny Thapar info

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New Delhi, Dec 6 (IANS) Internal communications of CG Power show that there was a deliberate attempt to not provide the documents and mails sought by ousted Chairman Gautam Thapar, who along with few others, is accused in a Rs 3,600 crore fraud.

Thapar and other accused have blamed the current company management of not providing the required documents sought by them to defend themselves.

A mail seen by IANS, shows that Omkar Goswami, an independent Director of the company suggested his colleagues to desist from sharing the minutes of meetings from Aprl 1, 2015 at “one go”.

“I have made some changes. Mostly grammatical and emphatical. A key change is that I believe we don’t need to supply GT the minutes of the Board and RAC (Risk and Audit Committee) meetings from 1 April, 2015 in one go. So, I have chosen a cutoff date of 1 April, 2017,” the mail dated September 18, from Goswami said, adding that there is “a reason” for the suggestion which could be discussed later.

GT in the mail refers to Gautam Thapar.

Suggesting that the changes he mentioned be applied, Goswami added: “I leave it to (law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas) CAM’s and your better judgement.”

The mail from the independent director assumes importance as market regulator Sebi has asked CG Power management to share all requisite documents sought by the former company chairman.

In a reply to Goswami’s mail, a communication from Anchal Dhir, a partner with CAM, said that under the Companies Act, a director has the right to receive copies of minutes during the period of their directorship, and not providing the information may create legal trouble for the company to which Ashish Guha, the current Chairman of the company, said that such information should be shared with the directors as prescribed by the law.

“In the given circumstance, I would like to avoid taking such a positiion, and would request the company to share such information with the Directors/former Director, as prescribed by law in its original form.”

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) in November told CG Power to provide its accused former Chairman Thapar and others with the information and e-mails they sought from the company. According to sources, the market regulator had directed the company to provide the information and mails concerned by December 4. The other noticees who sought information and mails from the company include former CFO Venkatesh, Madhav Acharya, Avantha Holdings, Acton Global and Solaris Industrial Chemicals.

The company in August disclosed the findings of its risk and audit committee (RAC), which revealed that the firm and the group together could have under-reported liabilities to the extent of over Rs 3,600 crore in the financial years 2017 and 2018. As per the company, they also understated the loans advanced to related and unrelated parties to the tune of about Rs 7,600 crore during the two financial years.

Goswami, who heads the Corporate and Economic Research Group (CERG) Advisory Private Ltd, has also been the part of the company’s RAC. Along with other members of the board and RAC, he claims igorance of the transactions made by Thapar and others towards Thapar’s company Avantha Holdings. Since the alleged fraud came to light, Thapar has said that the transactions took place with due approval of the board.

On being contacted by IANS, although he did not respond to questions regarding the mail and the allegations that the board was aware of the transactions, Goswami stressed that Thapar, along with Venkatesh and others, siphoned off Rs 3,500 crore of shareholders’ money from the company in a fraudulent manner.

He said that although as Thapar claims, the money was taken to pay off loans of Avantha Holdings, the transactions are “completely scandalous… even if they were transferred to repay loans”.

He added that at least nine such transactions took place.

Thapar, Venkatesh and other CG Power executives Madhav Acharya and B. Hariharan were eventually barred from the stock markets.

–IANS

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