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Jio seeks Reliance Infratel’s forensic audit reports


Reliance Jio Infocomm has moved the bankruptcy court, seeking disclosures of forensic audit reports of Reliance Infratel after some lenders marked the accounts of Reliance Communications’ tower unit – along with those of its parent – “fraudulent” soon after Jio’s resolution plan was approved.

“We want a copy of the forensic audit report disclosed to us so that we can make an assessment of how it will impact the resolution plan,” senior counsel Vikram Nankani, representing Jio, said at a virtual hearing on Thursday.

The Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has directed the telco to furnish its application copies to all parties involved, including Reliance Infratel’s committee of creditors (CoC) and its resolution professional Deloitte, and asked the respondents to file their replies. It set the matter for hearing on June 10.

NCLT had on December 3 approved Jio’s resolution plan to pick up the tower and fibre assets of RCom for under Rs 4,000 crore.

A few weeks later, , Union Bank of India, and Indian Overseas Bank classified accounts of RCom and its units Reliance Telecom and Reliance Infratel as fraudulent. The allegations came a year after a forensic audit unearthed questionable transactions worth Rs 5,500 crore in the three Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group entities.

The probe, which looked at transactions between May 2017 and March 2018, found three large entries buried under hundreds of thousands of others that the SBI-led lenders’ group suspects could conceal fund diversion.

Jio has sought the audit details from Reliance Infratel’s CoC including SBI, UBI and IOB, and Deloitte through its unit Reliance Project and Property Management Services.

In its application, India’s largest telco told NCLT that it wanted the audit reports to know as to why the three Indian banks did not disclose that they had classified the accounts as fraudulent last October at the time of resolution process.

“As it appears that the forensic audit report was available with the banks on October 15, 2020. So, on the day on which your lordships approved the plan, which was December 3, 2020, this report was available with the banks,” Nankani said at the virtual hearing. “They did not disclose it… In fairness, they should have done it,” he said.

The latest development could further delay the lenders’ bid to make any recovery from the bankrupt telecom infrastructure company, the only one among the three whose resolution plan had been finalised by NCLT, legal experts said.

Reliance Infratel, which holds 43,000 towers and 1,72,000 km fibre, and Reliance Telecom, which mainly houses fibre, are two units of RCom that went bust along with the parent company.

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