Report cites IT probe linking Essar to NuPower, company clarifies

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New Delhi, May 7 (IANS) Even as a report in a leading national daily linked the Essar Group to Deepak Kochhar-promoted NuPower Renewables, which is currently on the radar of several investigative agencies as well as the tax authorities, the company clarified on Monday that it has no links with NuPower.

In a report on Monday, the Hindustan Times said “investigative agencies are looking at whether DH Renewables Holding Ltd, the Mauritius-based special purpose vehicle of Accion Diversified Fund that is the major shareholder in NuPower Renewables, is related in any way, directly or indirectly, to the Essar Group”.

The newspaper also quoted an unnamed tax officer as saying: “From being a minority shareholder in NuPower, DH Renewables’ holding has risen to over 54 per cent. This happened because successive shareholders have offloaded their stake in NuPower to DH.”

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The report said DH Renewables also “stepped in” when First Land Holdings, promoted by the son-in-law of Essar Group’s Ravi Ruia, “wanted to sell its stake in the company”.

The Essar Group, however, denied any links with NuPower Renewables, DH Renewables or First Land Holdings.

“Essar has not made any investments in First Land or NuPower. Further, Essar entities have business dealings with Matix Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd. on arm’s length basis, and these have no connection whatsoever with NuPower,” a statement issued by the Essar Group said.

When IANS reached out to an Income Tax (I-T) official, he said: “There are many reports that flow in. But I-T department cannot comment on it while the investigations are on.”

NuPower is being investigated by several agencies since news reports raised questions about the chairman of Videocon Venugopal Dhoot giving a loan of Rs 64 crore to the firm he had jointly promoted with Deepak Kochhar, husband of ICICI CEO Chanda Kochhar, six months after his group received a Rs 3,250 crore loan from ICICI.

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The I-T Department has so far sent two notices to Kochhar. On April 30, it sent a notice under Section 139(9) of the Income Tax Act seeking an explanation on his personal income. I-T had earlier sent a notice in the first week of April to NuPower Renewables, which was formed in December 2008.

Sources earlier told IANS that the Foreign Tax Division of the department has written to the authorities in Mauritius seeking details of the ownership of DH Renewables Holding Ltd, a major shareholder in NuPower Renewables.

The CBI has registered a preliminary inquiry against Kochhar, Videocon Group officials and others to determine any wrongdoing or otherwise in the sanction of the loan to the Videocon group by the ICICI Bank as part of a consortium of banks in 2012.

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–IANS

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