Kanodia-NuPower links: I-T searches on for second day

New Delhi, May 11 : The Income-Tax Department conducted searches on Matix group Vice-Chairman Nishant Kanodia and others for the second consecutive day on Friday in connection with investments by his Mauritius-based Firstland Holdings into Deepak Kochhars NuPower Renewables through cumulative convertible preference shares (CCPS).

The raids are being conducted at multiple locations in Mumbai, Kolkata and West Bengal to find out links about transactions between Firstland, NuPower and other related entities in India and abroad.

Firstland is owned by Nishant Kanodia, son-in-law of Essar group's Ravi Ruia.

Besides Kanodia's firm and residential premises, the I-T teams searched some other entities linked to the case.

The raids started in the morning.

The tax department had on Thursday too raided eight locations in Mumbai, Kolkata and West Bengal.

Sources told IANS the tax department was examining the financial transactions between Kochhar and Matix, and probable links with some of Essar group firms.

Tax sleuths are said to have been tipped off about overvaluation of capital goods in Matix companies and undisclosed foreign assets.

The transaction comes under I-T radar since Firstland, which is the part of the Matix group run by Yogendra Kanodia and son Nishant, sold the CCPS to another Mauritius-based entity DH Renewables, a subsidiary of Accion Diversified Strategies Fund, based in Cayman Island, for Rs 325 crore in 2011 and 2012.

Under the original resolution, Kanodias' investment would have resulted in 49 per cent stake in NuPower, which they relinquished in favour of DH Renewables Holding, the company that bought the CCPS from Firstland, according to officials.

Firstland's CCPS were to be converted into equity shares of NuPower.

Kanodias received neither dividend nor capital gains on its NuPower investment. The original resolution on the CCPS did not provide any details on dividend payments.

The I-T authorities on Thursday also sent letters to Mauritius and Cayman Island authorities seeking more information on the fund since the antecedents of DH Renewables and Accion Diversified Strategies Fund are not known.

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.

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.



Source: IANS