Government all set to probe HML's financial deals
After initiating measures to resume land in the illegal possession of plantation major Harrisons Malayalam Ltd (HML), the State Government is all set to launch a probe into the alleged fraudulent financial dealings of the company, including tax evasion and diversion of funds.
It is learnt that the government is for constituting a committee comprising legal and financial experts to look into the alleged financial frauds of the company. Diversion of funds, tax evasion, selling of land, accounting of money, loans availed of from banks and tea subsidies will all come under the purview of the probe, highly-placed sources said.
Revenue Secretary G Kamalavardhan Rao said that the government would continue to do what it had been doing in the HML issue without violating any judicial pronouncements, if any.
“The government has taken several steps and the efforts will continue,’’ he said. The Vigilance, which probed into the illegal possession of land by the HML, had unearthed alleged illegal financial dealings of the company.
The VACB had said that the company had looted the state through many of its financial dealings. Moreover, the company is alleged to have taken loans to the tune of around `150 crore against illegally-held government lands.
The alleged siphoning off of around `600 crore outside the country by the company will also come under the purview of the probe. The government had already sent a letter to the Union Home Ministry and various financial institutions such as RBI and SEBI in this regard.
Apart from this, the move to shift the office of STEL Holdings Ltd, in which HML has a major stake, from Kerala to Maharashtra, will also come under the purview of the inquiry.
The government’s initiative gains significance in the wake of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs seeking a report from its Regional Director, Chennai, and the Registrar of Companies, Kerala, on the alleged violations of the Companies Act by the HML. Ministry of Corporate Affairs Deputy Director M S Pachouri said in the letter: “... for compliance or otherwise of the provisions of the Companies Act, 1956, if any, Registrar of Companies, Kerala, and Regional Director, Chennai, have been requested to look into the matter and furnish a report to the Ministry.”
The government has already initiated action against the company by resuming the illegally held land by it. Special Officer appointed for retrieving the land, M G Rajamanickam, had already inspected the estates under the Company in Kollam district in the first week of this month. The other estates would also come under the scanner in the coming months.