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‘Suspect’ transactions detected at Gautam Thapar’s CG Power; stock tanks 20%. YES Bank suffers collateral damage

Fraud at CG Power was purportedly carried out by employees for over 2 years.

, ETMarkets.com|
Updated: Aug 20, 2019, 12.33 PM IST
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The company warned that adjustments would also impact FY19 numbers.
NEW DELHI: Shares of CG Power and Industrial Solutions lost one-fifth of their value to hit the lower circuit limit of 20 per cent at Rs 14.75 at the opening bell Tuesday, recording the biggest drop in six months.

Shares of domestic private lender YES Bank, which owns 12.79 per cent stake in the company, tanked 6 per cent to Rs 72 in morning trade.

The trigger was concerning.

After 13 hours of discussions with the risk and audit committee of the company, the board at 4 am on Tuesday came to the conclusion that there were some unauthorised transactions carried out by ‘certain employees’, which led to potential understatement of not only the company’s liabilities, but also advances to related and unrelated parties of the company and the group.

And this has been going on for two years now.

The company is controlled by Gautam Thapar, business tycoon and founder of the Avantha Group.

To add to the corporate governance woes, certain assets of the company were purportedly provided for as collaterals without due authority. The company was made a co-borrower or guarantor ostensibly for enabling unrelated third parties to obtain loans without due authorisation, CG Power said in a regulatory filing.

“The money thus obtained were immediately and without due authorisation routed out of the company, either by itself or from its subsidiaries or ostensibly unrelated parties to certain related parties,” it said.

Lastly, the net worth of the company was also understated due to un-authorised and inappropriate writeoffs and charges debited to the profit & loss statement in FY18 and FY17, the company claimed.

The company said these transactions were purportedly carried out by identified company personnel, both current and past, including certain non-executive directors, certain key managerial personals (KMPs) and others identified employees.

“These transactions appear to have been carried out by various means, including inappropriate netting off, using ostensibly unrelated third parties, routing transactions through subsidiaries, promoter affiliate companies and other connected parties. These may have potentially resulted in mis-statement of past financial statements,” it said.

Chief Financial Officer VR Venkatesh, who had resigned on March 8, was asked to continue till the finalisation of the financial results.

Shares of CG Power have eroded 67 per cent of investor value year-to-date. Foreign portfolio investors (whose holding in the company has come down by 1.55 per cent QoQ), mutual funds (holding down by 3.24 per cent) and insurance firms (holding down by 0.49 per cent) were all reducing stakes in the company in June quarter.

Retail investors holding up to Rs 2 lakh shares hold 11.9 per cent stake in the firm.

Big hit on financials
The company said total liabilities of the company and the group may have potentially been understated by Rs 1,053.54 crore and Rs 1,608.17 crore, respectively, as of March 31, 2018, and by Rs 601.83 crore and Rs 401.83 crore, respectively, as of April, 2017.

Besides, advances to related and unrelated parties of the company and the group may have potentially been understated by Rs 1,990.36 crore and Rs 2,806.63 crore, respectively, as of March 31, 2018; and by Rs 1,479.34 crore and Rs 1,331.47 crore, respectively, as of April 1, 2017.

The company warned that adjustments would also impact FY19 numbers.

CG Power said its operations committee, which was constituted in March under an independent director, was made aware of some unauthorised transactions while it was seeking refinancing of certain facilities. To make further assessments in this regard, it hired independent law firm, which also took assistance of an independent consultancy firm.

The company said Managing Director KN Neelkant was away from day-to-day management services during this period of investigation.

Sudhir Mathur, then an independent director of the company and a member of operations committee, was re-designated as a whole-time Executive Director with effect from May 10.

The company said it would cooperate with regulatory authorities and promised to restore ‘the highest level of governance standards and internal control within the company.”

The board meet had started at 3 pm on Tuesday.

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