In a bid to allay the concerns of shareholders and customers, Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB) issued a public notice today, stating that the recent restriction imposed on it by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) under Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) has no connection whatsoever with FIR filed by the Economic Offences Wing. The EOW had registered the FIR based on a complaint by Religare Finvest Ltd (RFL).
The bank's share prices continued to drop, shedding 4.9 per cent on the National Stock Exchange on Tuesday, amid doubts about Indiabulls Housing's merger with LVB.
The bank inserted advertisements in several newspapers and issued a public notice stating, "The bank wishes to clarify that the PCA notice of RBI has no relationship whatsoever and is completely independent of the frivolous EOW complaint and malicious allegations by Religare Finvest Ltd (RFL).”
While the notice briefly referred to the PCA, it mainly sought to explain its point related to the FIR filed against it and its director in a dispute between the bank and RFL. It said that it is also initiating appropriate action against RFL, its directors and others for criminal defamation, malicious prosecution and causing disrepute to the bank and directors.
At the outset, the bank stated that PCA initiated by RBI on September 27, is due to high net NPAs and insufficient CRAR, among other factors. Banks periodically do undergo such corrective actions by the regulator, it explained.
In a filing on May 16, Religare said, "The new management discovered that one of the major reasons for RFS's terrible financial condition was the misappropriation by LVB of monies due to RFL on account of four fixed deposits placed by it with LVB amounting to approx. Rs 791 crore (including interest accrued on Rs 750 crore of principal amount). Such misappropriation had caused a massive unlawful loss to RFL and consequently to all its shareholders, including the public shareholders."
Responding to this, the lender said, "The bank unequivocally states that the outstanding amounts due to the bank from two loans sanctioned to Religare Group of Companies has been appropriated by the bank against fixed deposits from the same group, by following due process and in compliance with all the applicable norms.”
It added that it had no role to play in the commission of any alleged criminal action. Further, the directors of the bank arrayed as parties in the FIR, exercised no direct or indirect control in relation to the transaction that was effected on 2016-17 and 2017-18. LVB asserted that the directors were not involved in the day-to-day management of the bank, and claimed RFL's complaint was solely intended to harass LVB and its directors.
“Therefore, the directors of the bank have been arrayed as accused for no good reason - and the bank is taking appropriate steps to defend against any criminal action,” LVB said in the notice.
The lender stated that FIR has not only been registered against the bank's directors but also RFL's own personnel and erstwhile promoters, Malvinder Mohan Singh and Shivinder Mohan Singh.
It added that it is defending the proceedings against RFL before the courts and authorities which are pending adjudication. Mere registration of FIR against the bank and its directors does not mean anything at this stage, LVB asserted.
“Till date, no adverse orders have been passed against the Bank by any judicial forum and no prima facie case has been found in favour of RFL's fictitious narration of events,” said the Bank.