The bank accounts of Reliance Communication, Reliance Telecom and Reliance Infratel, all owned by Anil Ambani, have been classified as "fraud", the State Bank of India told the Delhi High Court. The bank can now seek a banking fraud investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The bank accounts of the three Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group entities have been classified as 'fraudulent' by India's three major lenders, including the State Bank of India (SBI), Union Bank of India (UBI) and the Indian Overseas Bank (IOB).
The court has asked SBI to maintain status quo on the accounts, NDTV reported.
According to RCom's official website, it owes ₹49,193 crores in dues. Apart from RCom, Reliance Telecom owes ₹24,306.27 crores, and Reliance Infratel owes ₹12,687.65 crores. The group's total debt is over ₹86,188 crores, which is nearly a ten-fold hike than what Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi owed to Indian banks, with debt amounting to ₹9,000 crores and ₹7,409.07 crores respectively.
Anil Ambani, the fallen billionaire, may have claimed his net worth to be 'zero', but the banks are not buying it.
The former Director of Reliance Communication, Punit Garg, challenging the Reserve Bank's 2016 circular, regarding the declaration of accounts as a fraud, argued that the circular is against the principle of natural justice, as accounts can be declared as fraud without hearing the parties.
The bank said its audit division has detected evidence of diversion of funds, among other irregularities.
Under the Reserve Bank rule challenged, an account can turn into a Non-Performing Asset for default of payment for a period. Banks then conduct a forensic audit on these accounts and if the audit finds siphoning of funds or any illegal activity, the account is labelled as "fraud".
Once an account is declared as "fraud", the matter has to be reported to the Reserve Bank within one week.
The rules also mention that the bank should file a complaint with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) if the amount involved in the fraud is above ₹1 crore. If the amount is less than one crore, the local police investigate the issue.