Times of India bosses questioned by ED under FEMA, PMLA, alleged transactions worth Rs 900 crores with tax havens under scanner
Bennett Coleman and Company Limited (BCCL), a media conglomerate and publisher of the Times of India newspaper is now under the control of the central agencies. According to a report by Indian Express, the company’s top executives have been repeatedly questioned by the Enforcement Branch for alleged violations of FEMA and PMLA. The agencies also reportedly sent requests for corroborating information to offshore destinations.
According to Indian Express, Sivakumar Sundaram, chairman of the company’s executive committee (CEC) and Himanshu Agarwal, its chief financial officer (CFO), have been summoned for questioning at ED’s headquarters in New Delhi.
There are several transactions by BCCL that appear to be under the scanner of central investigative agencies. Among them is a Rs 900 crore transaction with entities in the tax haven of the British Virgin Islands (BVI). Times of India bosses are being questioned under the Foriegn Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). If this information from Indian Express is true, it means the ED suspects Times of India (BCCL) bosses have diverted money to the British Virgin Island, which is a tax haven.
A reading of BCCL’s balance sheet shows that it owns a media company called MX Media Co Ltd which was incorporated in the BVI. From 2017 to 2019, the media company was presented as a subsidiary, with the parent company owning 52.35% of the capital. It was then diluted to 40.36%, with the company being transformed into an “associate” company. There are other “associated” companies of the Group listed on BCCL’s balance sheet, which were incorporated in South Korea, China and Singapore.
According to ROC data, Indian Express found that in 2019-2020, BCCL made revenue above Rs 9611 crores, however, their revenue dropped in the COVID year 2020-2021 to Rs 5337 crores.
Who are the Directors of Bennett Coleman and Company Limited (BCCL), Publishers of The Times of India
There are 10 administrators of BCCL. One of them is Vineet Jain.
Samir Jain, who is listed as the managing director of BCCL, is the brother of Vineet Jain, who is also the managing director. BCCL is largely a family business of the Jain family.