Former chief executive officer of popular television channel TV9 V Ravi Prakash, who was arrested by the Banjara Hills police in Hyderabad in the morning, has been charged with siphoning off over Rs 18.31 crore from Associated Broadcasting Company Limited, which runs the channel, since last year.
The police booked Ravi Prakash for cheating and criminal breach of trust under various Sections including 409, 418 and 420 of Indian penal code. They are now questioning him for the misappropriation of company funds.
The new management of the ABCL comprising representatives of Alanda Media and Entertainment Limited (including My Home Group and Megha Engineering) lodged a complaint with the police on Friday.
According to the complaint, Ravi Prakash and his associate M K V N Murthy had drawn huge sums from the bank accounts of the company without substantiating any entitlement under law.
They also did not follow the prescribed procedure, provide any reasons and take proper approval of Directors / Shareholders.
“This amounts to cheating, gross misappropriation of funds, causing wrongful loss to the company and thereby getting personal benefit at the cost of the company,” the new management said.
The complainant said Alanda had acquired 90.54 per cent of shares in the ABCL and gained the ownership on August 27, 2018. During the verification of records and account statements since June 2019 by new board of directors, it was revealed that Ravi Prakash and Murthy had fraudulently drawn huge sums and also paid to another person Clifford Pereira by abusing the authority and signing the instruments.
“While Ravi Prakash diverted Rs 6.36 crore into his account, Murthy and Pereira got Rs 5.97 crore each. Thus, three of them had drawn Rs 18.31 crore. As per the bank statement, they got a net amount of Rs 11.74 crore, after deducting tax at source,” the complaint said.
The cheques for the payment of this amount were signed by Ravi Prakash and Murthy, who were then authorised signatories, though they were not entitled to receive such huge amounts without obtaining approval of the shareholders/Directors.
“This transfer of amounts was done with a dishonest and fraudulent intention to cause wrongful loss to the company. Later on, as an afterthought, they showed the amount as bonus/ex gratia by producing antedated documents. The money was sanctioned without passing a proper board resolution to pay such amounts,” he said.
“We have also come to know that they have advised the accounts team to record these amounts on account of bonus/ex gratia to them without conducting a proper board meeting or taking the approval in the general body meeting of shareholders of the company,” the complainant said.