The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday said it has arrested Karvy Stock Broking Limited (KSBL) CMD C Parthasarathy and group CFO G Krishna Hari in connection with a money-laundering investigation linked to the alleged diversion of clients’ securities of over Rs 2,873 crore.
The agency produced the two– already lodged in central jail, Bengaluru after being arrested by the police– before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Hyderabad on January 20, and on January 25 it remanded them to four days of ED custody from January 27-30, it said in a statement.
The ED case, filed under the criminal provisions of the PMLA, is based on multiple Telangana Police FIRs filed by the HDFC Bank, few other banks and investors alleging clients’ securities were illegally diverted by Karvy Stock Broking Ltd, and these were later pledged with banks and nonbanking financial companies (NBFCs) for loans which were later ”defaulted”.
The ED has earlier recorded the statement of various Karvy group employees and also conducted searches in this case in September last year.
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”The ED has uncovered the complex web of transactions designed by the senior management of the Karvy Group to misuse the securities of their clients and to raise loans fraudulently which were then rotated via multiple related companies and diverted away from the stated purpose.
”The shares of clients who did not owe any funds to KSBL were also transferred to the margin/pool account of KSBL and were pledged with the banks/ NBFCs,” the agency said.
The power of attorney (POA) given by clients to KSBL to facilitate exchange settlements was ”grossly misused” by KSBL at the directions of the CMD and senior executives. It said CMD Parthasarathy and chief financial officer (CFO) Hari were the ”main conspirators” who gave instructions to others. ”Fund trail investigation has shown that the borrowed funds were transferred to other group companies, particularly to one wholly-owned subsidiary of KSBL Karvy Realty (India) Limited (KRIL) and then to 14 shell companies floated by Karvy Group. ”They have been further diverted by layering done through the complex web of transactions from the several accounts of group companies without any financial rationale,” it said.
It said various financial consultants and defunct NBFCs were used to route the funds. ”It was found that KSBL availed loans from NBFCs to the tune of Rs 400 crore in the name of five such shell companies by pledging shares of clients of KSBL after illegally transferring these shares to their account. ”The fraudulently availed loans were used to clear pending loans of related companies, do massive stock transactions which have allegedly turned into complete losses and diverted to personally held family companies,” it said.
The agency last year had frozen Rs 700 crore worth shares of Parthasarathy as it said it was investigating the money trail to trace the ”proceeds of crime which are close to around Rs 2,000 crore.”