No link with transactions alleged in media report: Zee to bourses

New Delhi (IANS): Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) on Sunday clarified that it has no connection with any of the transactions said to have been carried out by its promoter Essel Group, as alleged in a media report earlier this week.

The report, on Friday, said that the Essel Group was involved in money laundering immediately after the November 2016 demonetisation, following which the shares of the company's entertainment arm tanked over 30 percent and the firm suffered market capitalisation loss of Rs 14,000 crore. 

"At the outset, we wish to reiterate and confirm that Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd has no connection whatsoever with any alleged transaction(s) contained in the article published by a website," ZEE said in a stock exchange filing. 

"All the queries relating to demonetisation, if any, from the SFIO (Serious Fraud Investigation Office) were directed to Nityank and that all the information/documents relating to certain transactions sought by SFIO, were provided. 

"Essel Group had already confirmed that Nityank Infrapower and Multiventures Ltd, is an independent company and does not belong to Essel Group," it said. 

"Since all information sought by SFIO has been provided by Essel Group entities and no further information has been subsequently sought, the matter stands closed for Essel Group entities," it added. 

The media report claimed that the SFIO was probing Nityank Infrapower for deposits of over Rs 3,000 crore made just after demonetisation was announced on November 8, 2016.

It also claimed that Nityak Infrapower and a group of alleged shell firms had carried out financial transactions that involved a few companies associated with the Subhash Chandra-led Essel Group between 2015 and 2017.

The filing also said that the Essel Group has filed a legal case against the media platform, "which has maliciously attempted to establish a linkage between the SFI''s investigation and ZEE Entertainment Enterprises Lt''s promoters".

The media report also said that Nityank had also played a crucial role in a large business deal between the Videocon and Essel groups in November 2016.

Essel maintains that Nityank is an independent firm, while Videocon alleges otherwise. 

In an "open letter" on Friday, ZEE & Essel Group Chairman Subhash Chandra apologised to bankers, NBFCs and mutual funds for "not having lived up to their expectations" and being in debt due to the failure of multiple infrastructure projects, and said that he intended to pay back the loans through the sale of his promoter stake in ZEEL.

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