The Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on Friday issued notices to the CEOs of Axis Bank — Amitabh Chaudhry — and Standard Chartered Bank — Zarin Daruwala — on a contempt plea by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) after it was allegedly found that former IL&FS managing director and CEO Ramesh Bawa had transferred Rs 1.14 crore from his bank accounts to the accounts of his wife and daughter despite the court ordering the freezing of his accounts.
The tribunal also issued notices to Bawa, his wife and daughter. The CEOs of the banks as well as Bawa, his wife and daughter have been given 14 days time to reply to the notice after which MCA has seven days time to file its rejoinder.
The next date of hearing has been scheduled for June 7. “The Bank will be responding to the contempt petition within the prescribed timeline,” Standard Chartered Bank said in an email statement.
Investigations by the MCA showed that Rs 1.14 crore was transferred from Bawa’s account to the accounts of his wife and daughter after the court had ordered the freezing of his account on December 3, 2018. Besides the money withdrawal, the lockers in the name of Bawa were also opened in Axis and Standard Chartered Bank as late as March 27, 2019.
The MCA also filed two applications at the tribunal to bring Bawa’s wife and daughter under the purview of the December 3 order. In response, the tribunal ordered a Rs 2-lakh limit on the monthly withdrawal from the bank accounts of the wife and daughter. The tribunal also noted that Bawa transferred Rs 3.84 crore to his daughter’s bank account on December 3 after learning of the government’s petition at the tribunal seeking to freeze the assets. The government counsel alleged that the lockers held by Bawa were operated multiple times since the December 3 order was issued, and the banks facilitated these transactions despite the knowledge of the NCLT order.
On December 3, the NCLT had mandated Bawa and eight other senior IL&FS officials to disclose their movable and immovable assets. The tribunal had also ordered that their assets, including bank accounts and lockers, be frozen. The freeze was put in place after the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) reported its interim finding on the IL&FS fraud case. FE