The Patiala House court in Delhi has directed the city police to register a criminal case probing alleged involvement of private equity (PE) firm Actis and 12 others in a case of money laundering, cheating and criminal conspiracy.
The order came after Subhash Chaudhuri moved the court on behalf of Super-Max, alleging that Delhi Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) failed to act on his complaint in June 2020, as per a report by The Economic Times.
Chaudhuri in his complaint alleged that Actis, who invested in Super-Max (the second-largest producer of shaving products) in March 2011, had conspired to gain control of finances, ownership and management of Super-Max Group, it said.
As per the complaint, Actis gained “pervasive control” over the management, affairs and operations of the SM group of companies globally. The complaint also mentions account books of Supermax Personal Care (SPCPL) being “altered, falsified and material particulars being omitted or altered with an intent to defraud SPCPL’s creditors at large, as well as the SM group.”
It added that “through such misrepresentations and falsified accounts, the accused have induced investors to invest into SPCPL, thereby causing wrongful gain upon themselves and wrongful loss to the said investors.”
Super-Max’s advocates Pramod Kumar Dubey and Nirvikar Singh told the paper the case also involved Actis “cheating the exchequer” (Centre) through money laundering, which “warrants a probe by a federal agency.”
Ordering the Delhi Police to act, the judge noted that “prima facie cognisable offences appear to be have been committed” and that allegations point to “deep conspiracy” that could “unearth large-scale money laundering activities by the accused.”
“I am satisfied that FIR is required to be registered in the present matter to unearth the truth,” the judge stated and directed the EOW to register and investigate the case under “appropriate sections”.
Actis told the paper it would not comment on the matter as it is subjudice and “it is for the courts to decide whether there is a case to answer.”The 13 accused include Actis, its employees including group CEO Anindo Mukerji and Ketan Desai, the CFO of SM group of companies, British nationals Alan Greenough and Ronald Edward Bell; besides companies Wesley International (Dubai) and Actis Consumer Grooming Products (Mauritius).