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C Sivasankaran denies link with alleged Rs 6-billion IDBI fraud

He alleged the failures he encountered in business were due to the Supreme Court and Tata Group

Gireesh Babu  |  Chennai 

Sivasankaran
C Sivasankaran

Serial entrepreneur denies any connection to the alleged Rs 6-billion bank fraud case on which the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case against him and 15 current and former senior executives of IDBI Bank. He alleged the failures he encountered in business were due to the and And, that the latter should pay for group company shares which people have pledged with financial institutions like and IDBI.

Speaking to reporters while launching a real estate venture under the brand of Utoo Homes, he said: “Whatever you have heard in the newspapers is 100 per cent wrong. I am not a shareholder, guaranter or director and I am not an employee of any of these There is a forensic audit done by IDBI, which was sent by some of the IDBI guys unknown to me, which I am sharing with you. It will clearly tell you that IDBI lost only Rs 12 million and we have not done anything wrong.”

Adding: “We fully understand that as per the forensic audit, IDBI has violated RBI (Reserve Bank) regulations and violated the laws of India. They should be fully prosecuted to the length of the law and we have nothing to do with it. In the entire forensic report, Sivasankaran’s name is not mentioned. Sivasankaran’s name was required because then I will come in the front page Sivasankaran has not failed in business. Sivasankaran has not failed in business ideas. What failure I encounter is because of the Supreme Court, because of the Tata Group, because of these problems. This can happen to anybody. I will give you an analogy. When I drive a car and if it hits someone, I have done a mistake. But, if a lorry driver is coming on the opposite side, fully drunken, and hits me, is it my mistake? It is fate.”

Reiterating that he had lost Rs 30 billion with the Tata Group, through his investment in the former joint venture, Tata Docomo, he said the business group should set an example by making sure it pays for the people who pledged their shares in ILFS, Union Bank and IDBI.

For instance, IDBI paid a loan against Tata Group’s share, not on the strength of Sivasankaran. It gave loans on the strength and reputation of The loan towards Axcel Sunshine Ltd, by IDBI Bank, was issued with 55 million shares of Tata Teleservices, held by Telecom Investments (Mauritius), as the primary security. The forensic audit report, said Sivasankaran, had identified the valuation of these shares at Rs 100.70 each, to a total value of Rs 5.53 billion. This came down to Rs 86 a share in further valuation.

Sivasankaran added he'd made Rs 140 billion in profit and paid taxes for that but lost Rs 38 billion because of the 'wrong judgement' he received in the 2G telecom scam, where he was not party to the case. He has filed a case against the government for Rs 38 billion plus interest, pending now for four years.

Owing to these two problems, he says, he lost Rs 34 billion in a Finland wind energy business. "In the Ramayana, when the squirrel is not making a sound when Rama pressed, Rama asked why it is not making noises at the pain. The squirrel explained that whenever other people hurt me, I shall cry 'Ram, Ram'. Now, this small squirrel, Sivasankaran, is pressed by and Government of India, and I am not able to make a noice, which is the sad part of it."

On the Rs 10 bn he reportedly owes Tata Group, he said these were guarantees the latter had taken from him without showing any of the contracts and those guarantees are invalid.

"I am a Seychelles citizen. The arbitrations they are doing right now are not valid under Seichelles law. I have sent a legal letter to them, explaining everything. They haven't responded," he added.

New housing, cab venture

announced on Wednesday a new venture in the housing sector, through Utoo Homes, where it would offer luxury smart housing at affordable prices, in collaboration with developers. The model is to offer 321 sq ft of carpet area, which could be converted into a living room, kitchen or bedroom as required, along with common food, gym and recreation amenities in the same building. Targeting urban customers of 22-34 years age, above 60-year-old couples and individuals.

The cost of an apartment would be Rs 4.1 million and exempt from Goods and Services Tax, since it would be offered after completion. The first project of over 300 apartments would be built by Utoo itself, with investment of Rs 1.2 billion. The first project would be completed in September 2019 and the second one would be set up in March 2020, in Chennai, with more amenities.

He claimed the plan is to build 90,000 units in 30 cities in five years, in collaboration with builders. His company was ready for various models, such as joint ventures or even consultancy services. It is also, he said, building an 800-unit project in Faro, Portugal.

The Utoo branded online cab service he launched a couple of years before in Chennai has stopped. That business is passe now and would be relaunched with electric cars in September 2019, he said.

"All these people (other online taxi aggregator companies) are spending retired Americans' money as capital here and it doesnt make a business for me to lose Rs 30 million because I am not making money from America or other places at huge valuation. It is not fair for me to take. I will bring in electric cars in September 2019, where I can compete since there is no fuel issue and it is easier to maintain."

First Published: Wed, December 19 2018. 22:31 IST
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