ED examines profit sharing structure within Edelweiss group companies

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is examining the profit sharing structure within Edelweiss group companies, among other matters.

This is to check whether there is any forex regulation contravention, said a senior official at the federal agency.

This is apart from the Capstone Forex matter in which Edelweiss group founder and chairman Rashesh Shah was questioned by the probe agency early this week. 

However, Shah, in a press statement, rejected all the alleged violations of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and also denied any relationship with Capstone. 

Besides, the ED is looking into the alleged irregularities in import of pulses, and the role of Edelweiss firms in the merger of ICICI Bank with Bank of Rajasthan in 2010.

These are part of the income-tax department’s findings that were shared with the enforcement agency. 

The I-T department had seized several crucial documents about the bank’s merger and profit sharing within group companies during its search operation on Edelweiss Commodities in 2015. This was in connection with a pulses import case. The I-T department has recommended further probe in the case. 

Several other importers/trading houses were also searched by the tax department during that period for allegedly manipulating prices of different categories of pulses.

An email sent to Edelweiss group did not get any response. 

However, sources in the financial services firm said, “These issues pertain to an old matter raised in 2015-16 for which the company had provided all the necessary material asked for by the relevant authorities. 

The company unequivocally continues to stand by the statement it had made on January 10 that it has absolutely no connection with Capstone which is allegedly linked to Sanjay Nathalal Shah. He had stepped down on Tuesday from the board of a few group companies. 

The sources said Edelweiss has also written to market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and requested investigation into possible price manipulation due to reports on Shah being summoned. 

Further, the company is learnt to be in the process of a full-fledged investigation into this subterfuge and will take all steps to ensure the culprits are booked or exposed.

The probe agency is learnt to have ascertained facts about Capstone Forex, Sanjay N Shah and related matters during the questioning of Shah. 

Sources say the probe agency may examine some more executives for certain other issues. All the issues may be consolidated, as different teams are handling it in Delhi and Mumbai. 

Capstone Forex is learnt to have violated certain provisions of FEMA involving foreign exchange to the tune of Rs 740 crore.  

Meanwhile, the federal agency is learnt to have also sought inputs from regulatory bodies on the resignation of prime suspect Sanjay Nathalal Shah as Edelweiss board member. 

On profit sharing, an internal source said Edelweiss followed an inorganic growth strategy and acquired many direct and indirect subsidiaries. 

To simplify and streamline the structure, some firms were closed, sold and merged with other companies over the last few years. 

The Edelweiss group exited international commodities trading business in 2016. As part of this exit strategy, many companies have been sold or reassigned within the group, said an internal source.

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