The Kochi bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on June 5 ordered an independent forensic audit of Indus Motor Company Pvt Ltd, a firm owned by Rajya Sabha member from Kerala P V Abdul Wahab and his family, after the minority shareholders of Indus Motor alleged mismanagement, poor corporate governance and financial irregularities at the firm.
As per the Registrar of Companies records, Wahab is the Managing Director of Indus Motor.
Indus Motor has filed an appeal against the order before National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), said the CEO of Indus Motor. “Our lawyers have already challenged the order in the higher court and the case is subjudice,” said CEO Thomas Kuruvilla. The company is one of India’s top dealers of Maruti cars.
In February, a few minority shareholders of Indus Motor including T P Anil Kumar, the son of the original founder of Indus Motor, moved NCLT, alleging the firm indulged in unauthorised related party transactions.
The shareholders said the company advanced loans of at least Rs 52.9 crore to relatives of the promoter for purchase of real estate. The shareholders also alleged “post this transaction, the rental pay-outs to such parties have increased”.
According to the petition, Indus Motor in violation of norms “granted a license for the use of the intellectual property” of Indus Motor to related entities “without any consideration”.
The minority shareholders also alleged that in Financial Year 2017-18, the management of Indus Motor invested Rs 9.98 crore in the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Aster DM Healthcare Ltd but it was subsequently “disposed of at the huge loss of Rs 2.37 crore”. “This is a gross mis-utilizing of funds and resources of R1 (Indus Motor),” said their petition.
PV Abdul Wahab is one of the richest MPs from Kerala with assets of more than Rs 199 crore, as per the 2015 election affidavit filed by him. He is a member of Indian Union Muslim League party.
In February, the NCLT appointed an Advocate Commissioner to authenticate the statutory records of the company. However, the commissioner in his report to the tribunal said Indus Motor “misled” him “to obstruct the authentication proceedings”.
The NCLT in its June 5 order directed an independent forensic auditor to complete the auditing work within 60 days from the date of appointment of the auditor by the tribunal.
It also directed to constitute an audit committee consisting of two directors from the petitioner’s side and the respondent’s side each for helping complete the audit.