A COMPENSATION of Rs 78.5 crore given in June 2008 by Kohinoor-CTNL — a joint venture of Kohinoor Projects Private Limited and IL&FS Transportation Networks Private Limited (ITNL) — to Matoshree Infrastructure, a firm associated with MNS chief Raj Thackeray, has come under the scanner of the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
Sources said that in 2005, Matoshree Infrastructure, where Thackeray owns 25 per cent stake, invested Rs 40 crore in the joint venture Kohinoor-CTNL for acquiring commercial space at Kohinoor Towers in Mumbai. The commercial mall project was to be executed by Kohinoor CTNL.
However, in February 2008, Kohinoor-CTNL returned the Rs 40 crore along with an interest of about 20 per cent to Matoshree as the project was scrapped. However, in June 2008 , Kohinoor-CTNL paid another Rs 78.5 crore to Matoshree as compensation.
The ED, sources said, has questioned the rationale of this compensation, as Kohinoor-CTNL had already returned the money invested by Matoshree with interest in February 2008. The agency has alleged that Thackeray received around Rs 19 crore from the compensation given to Matoshree. The MNS chief was also questioned regarding this last week, sources added.
The ED has further alleged that of the Rs 40 crore invested by Matoshree, about Rs 36 crore came directly to Kohinoor-CTNL from individual investors. Matoshree invested only Rs 4 crore, said sources.
A MNS spokesperson declined to comment on the ED investigation.
Earlier this year, Kohinoor-CTNL was dragged to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. The precarious financial condition of the company had also led Unmesh Joshi, son of former Maharashtra chief minister Manohar Joshi, to lose control of Kohinoor-CTNL.
IL&FS and its foreign subsidiaries have advanced loans of over Rs 985 crore to Kohinoor-CTNL. The IL&FS Group has total liabilities of Rs 91,000 crore and is being probed by the ED and the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO). The SFIO has found several irregularities across corporate governance and financial parameters that led to a default crisis at IL&FS. The alleged financial irregularities at IL&FS had come to light last September, after some group entities started defaulting on debt repayments. The entire group has been defaulting on repayments since then. The government subsequently superseded the company’s board, and appointed a new management to work on a resolution plan.