NEW DELHI :
Subhash Chandra’s Essel Group on Sunday got a reprieve after managing to secure an assurance from its lenders that they wouldn’t rush to sell the shares of group companies pledged by the promoters, according to a report on business news channel BTVi. Essel is the controlling promoter of Zee Entertainment Enterprises, the group’s flagship company.
There was a danger of the lenders dumping, when the market opens Monday, the shares of Essel group companies pledged with them after they suffered a massive meltdown in Friday’s trade. The shares tumbled after a news report in The Wire linked firms belonging to Chandra, to large deposits made after demonetization.
A meeting between the group promoters and banks, mutual funds and non-banking finance companies which are invested directly in the company or have lent to it was held on Sunday.
The news report could throw a spanner in the works of the promoter family as it planned to sell up to 50% of their stake in Zee Entertainment. The promoters held 41.62% stake in the company as on 31 December, 2018.
The promoters are trying to sell the Zee Entertainment stake to pare the debt taken by the group’s infrastructure firms.
Zee Entertainment closed 27% lower and Dish TV ended 33% off on Friday. Zee Learn closed 19% down and Zee Media 9% lower from Thursday’s levels. The group has strongly denied being linked to any such large deposits and withdrawals being made around the time when demonetization was announced on November 8, 2016.
A copy of a company release, tweeted by BTVi, said the lenders would adopt a unified approach (while dealing with the company or its shares).
A news report in The Wire, published Thursday, said the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) was probing a company -- Nityank Infrapower (formerly Dreamline Manpower) -- for deposits of over ₹3,000 crore made just after Prime Minister Narendra Modi banned the then prevailing ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes.
The Wire said its examination of publicly available documents showed Nityank and a group of shell firms carried out financial transactions that involved a few firms associated with the Essel Group of Subhash Chandra between 2015 and 2017.
Nityank also went onto play a crucial role in a large business deal between the Videocon and Essel Group in November 2016, The Wire news report alleged.