Market regulator Sebi on Tuesday directed Prabhat Dairy to despoist Rs 1,292 crore in an escrow bank account and pulled up the company for not cooperating with forensic auditor Grant Thornton.
“Given that the facts clearly make out a prima facie case of non–cooperation by the company and its promoters/directors, I am of the considered view that the non–interference by the regulator at this stage would result in irreparable injury to interests of the securities market and the investors,” Sebi said in an order.
In July 2020, Sebi had appointed Grant Thornton to conduct a forensic audit of Prabhat Dairy to ascertain the manipulation of accounts; misrepresentation of financials and business operations and wrongful diversion of funds by promoters and key managerial persons.
Sebi in the order said the company and its managing director have repeatedly failed to co-operate with the forensic auditor and also failed to adhere to the directions of Sebi.
In April 2019, Prabhat Dairy sold its dairy business for Rs 1,700 crore to French multinational Groupe Lactalis. Some investors of the company had accused it of misuse and wrongful diversion of the sale proceeds.
In September 2019, the promoters of the company had shown intent to voluntary delist. The floor price set for delisting was at a discount to the market price. The regulator had launched a probe as the delisting price offered by the promoters dind’t commensurate with the funds available with the company.