Paradise Papers: Hindustan Times Group set up firm in Bermuda, showed Rs 7 cr loss

Paradise Papers: The annual report of Hindustan Times Limited for 2003-04 lists Go4i.com (Bermuda) as a subsidiary and shows that the company did not have any shareholding in the Bermuda-based entity.

Written by Sandeep Singh | New Delhi | Updated: November 7, 2017 9:14 am
Paradise Papers, Hindustan Times, Hindustan Times Paradise Papers, Shobhana Bhartia, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Appleby records, Financial Data leak, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Panama Papers, India news, Indian Express Paradis Papers: The Hindustan Times Ltd is the holding company of HT Media Ltd (listed entity in India) and holds 69.5 per cent stake in the listed entity.

The Hindustan Times Group owned by the Bhartias set up a company in Bermuda, Go4i.com (Bermuda) Ltd, through HTBC Ltd, which is one of the three shareholders of the offshore entity, Appleby records show. The other two shareholders of Go4i.com (Bermuda) Ltd are Swaminn Investments, registered in Cayman Islands, and Indocean Internet Holding (Bermuda) Ltd, the records show.

HTBC Ltd has its registered office in Mumbai and is owned by HT Interactive Media Properties, which has its registered office at Hindustan Times House, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi.

The annual report of Hindustan Times Limited for 2003-04 lists Go4i.com (Bermuda) as a subsidiary and shows that the company did not have any shareholding in the Bermuda-based entity.

Registrar of Companies (RoC) documents between 2004 and 2016 make no mention of the Bermuda entity — there is no further update in subsequent years on the status and business of the offshore company.

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Appleby documents show that Shobhana Bhartia, chairperson of the Hindustan Times Group, and her son Priyavrat Bhartia are directors of the Bermuda entity and also of HTBC Ltd.

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The other officials at Go4i.com (Bermuda) Ltd include Manisha Gupta, Piyush Gupta, Anil Ahuja, Rajan Kohli, Hiren Patel and Ravi Seth among others.

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Piyush Gupta and Anil Ahuja were also directors in Go4i.com (India); Rajan Kohli was executive president, Hindustan Times Ltd in 2003-04; Ravi Seth was director (finance) of Hindustan Times Ltd in 2003-04.

The directors of Go4i.com (India) include Virendra Kumar Charoria who is also a whole time director of The Hindustan Times Ltd along with Shobhana Bhartia, Priyavrat Bhartia and Shamit Bhartia.

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The Hindustan Times Ltd is the holding company of HT Media Ltd (listed entity in India) and holds 69.5 per cent stake in the listed entity. Its annual report shows that in the financial year ended October 31, 2003, Go4i.com (Bermuda) registered a loss of USD 701,634 (Rs 3.15 crore), and of USD 861,265 (Rs 4.1 crore) in the previous year. However, there are no details of the business and the revenue of the company over the two-year period.

Into the business of providing content, including wireless access protocol technology, RoC documents accessed on Go4i.com (India) show it is a subsidiary of Go4i.com (Mauritius) Ltd. Go4i.com (India) Ltd got registered in March 2000, with majority shares ( 99.92%) owned by Go4i.com (Mauritius) Ltd as of March 31, 2016, RoC records show.

RESPONSE FROM Shobhana Bhartia’s office:

Go4i.com (Bermuda) was formed after taking all requisite approvals as a JV between Swaminn, Indocean Internet Holdings (co-Investors) and HTBC Ltd (a 100% step down subsidiary of The Hindustan Times Limited) to undertake internet and other allied business. The business was subsequently wound up in 2004 after taking all necessary approvals.

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