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UPL: UPL whistleblower complaint: Here’s what global CEO Jaidev Shroff said

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NEW DELHI: The UPL management on Thursday said there was no related party issue as far as its transactions are concerned. The company was responding to a report by ETPrime, which cited a whistleblower complaint about alleged siphoning off money by the promoter.

The whistleblower, whom ET Prime identified as a board member of the listed agrochemicals company, had alleged that UPL entered into rent deals with a shell company owned by its employees and paid crores of rupees in rent for properties owned by them, and before them by Jaidev Shroff, the UPL chief himself.

In an exclusive interview with ETNOW, Shroff said the whistleblower’s complaint was put to rest in 2017 only. It was fully disclosed and the audit committee at that time had given a clean chit to the company.

“The audit committee reviewed the complaint and concluded that everything was fine,” Shroff said.

At 12.30 pm, the company’s stock traded 12.46 per cent down at Rs 430.

Shroff said the company rents for his residence and there is no transaction with UPL. He said the company is not owned by him or any of his family members, and there is no cost transaction between promoters the or promoter group or UPL.

Shorff said he believed there was a systematic malicious campaign to spoil the reputation of his family and UPL.

Asked if any large shareholders have exited the company, Shroff said: “I have not checked of late. UPL is a widely traded company. I believe there is a decent amount of buying. ”

ETPrime said it tried to independently verify the various accusations made by the whistleblower from the documents provided and the information available from lings at the Ministry of Corporate Affair (MCA) and stock exchanges. ETPrime also reached out to UPL, its directors, the then auditor SRBC & Co, an affiliate of global auditing firm EY, to have their perspectives on these allegations and get a clearer view of what might have happened.

“This is quite malicious. We had given the reporter complete access to information. He never visited us and searched for any other information. We asked them to come in and get the audit notes and also review all the documents. He still went on to issue the note,” Shroff claimed.

The ETPrime report said there were certain corporate governance issues with regards to the transactions done by the UPL promoters. The issues were also raised in the past at the company’s board and to its former auditor SRBC & Co.

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