In a major breakthrough, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs has sought a report from its Regional Director, Chennai, and the Registrar of Companies, Kerala, on the alleged violations of the Companies Act by Harrisons Malayalam Ltd (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 ministry gave the directive after the State Government said that Harrisons Malayalam Ltd had violated various provisions of the Companies Act in several instances.
The company had mooted an amalgamation of its various companies by suppressing material fact through forged and concocted documents, a matter of grave concern and against public interest that warranted investigation into the affairs of the company under section 237 of the Companies Act, the State Government had informed the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
Highly placed sources said that violation of law, tax evasions, various dealings and affairs and many other lapses of the company will come under the purview of the inquiry by the Regional Director and the Registrar of Companies. The shifting of the office of STEL Holdings Ltd, in which HML has a major share, from Kerala to Maharashtra, will also come under the inquiry.
The State Government, in its objection filed before the Ministry, had submitted that STEL Holdings Ltd, formerly known as Sentinel Tea and Exports Ltd, was a wholly owned subsidiary of Harrisons Malayalam Ltd with its registered office at Willingdon Island, Kochi.
Owing to the de-merger scheme, the investment undertaking of HML has been vested with STEL Holdings Ltd and the move was intended to defraud the state and public exchequer.