Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday attached Rs263.10 crore worth of movable and immovable properties of Deccan Chronicle Holdings Ltd (DCHL) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
In a press statement, the investigative agency said Deccan Chronicle caused a loss of Rs1161.93 crore to six public sector banks—Canara Bank, Andhra Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Central Bank of India, Corporation Bank and IDBI Bank Ltd. According to the agency, the company took loans to purchase capital goods and get short-term loans by overstating receivables and under-stating other loan liabilities.
Deccan Chronicle furnished fabricated financial statements and did not disclose loans taken from other banks and non-banking financial companies, the statement said.
The case was first registered under PMLA in 2012 for causing a loss of Rs357.77 crore to Canara Bank. Subsequently, it registered five more cases for causing loss to five other public sector banks under charges of cheating, criminal conspiracy and forgery.
Deccan Chronicle has defaulted on Rs4,000 crore loans from 18 banks and financial institutions, which are tagged as non-performing assets. As per the latest financial records, Deccan Chronicle had accumulated losses of Rs513 crore as of 30 September 2012. The ED investigation focused on 111 loans worth Rs10,000 crore from 16 different banks during 2004-12.
“Such loan amounts were used for other than the specified purposes such as investing in 20 group companies/firms, acquiring companies with huge premiums, payments to Airbus towards purchase of cargo aircrafts, payments to BCCI (Board of Control For Cricket in India) for Indian Premier League franchisee of ‘Deccan Chargers’,” said the agency.
The company also used the funds for paying dividends, buy-back of shares, issue of bonus shares, purchase of luxurious cars in the name of associates/group companies and repayment of earlier loans.
“The group companies of DCHL acquired movable and immovable properties with the loan funds received from DCHL and not disclosed the same in the audited balance sheet of the companies concerned with a view to obscure the identity of such properties which is nothing but money laundering,” said the agency.
An email sent to DCHL went unanswered.
Products of HT Media Ltd, the publisher of Mint and Hindustan Times, and Deccan Chronicle Holdings compete in some markets.