According to the CBI, GTL Ltd. got loans by fraud from a bank consortium of about 24 lenders and subsequently siphoned off most of the loan amount in a conspiracy with vendors and some bank officials. Inquiries proved that GTL had been benefitting vendors year after year without supplies of materials and goods. Among banks, ICICI Bank has an exposure of Rs 650 crore to GTL Ltd, Bank of India Rs 46,7 crore, and Canara Bank Rs 412 crore.
The company sanctioned short-term loan amounts for certain businesses by misrepresenting that the entire loan would be used for the stated purpose. But soon after the disbursement, most of the loan was not used for which it was given, the CBI said. “So M/s. GTL Limited defrauded the creditors and then misappropriated the funds of the creditors,” the CBI said in its first information report.
Founded in 1987 by Manoj Tirodkar of the Global Group, GTL is engaged in providing network deployment, operation, and maintenance services to telecom operators in India and international markets.
How was the fraud committed by GTL
According to the CBI, the GTL scam happened in the following way. To begin with, the alleged vendors got benefitted, and a noticeable amount of these payments were routed back to GTL Ltd by the vendors after the vendors appropriated them for alleged marginal supplies. Lenders disbursed Rs 1,055 crore and Rs 1,970 crore in the financial year 2009-10 and 2010-11, respectively. Rs 135 crore was invested in fixed deposits immediately after disbursal in FY 2010-11.
According to investigators, these advances were made to the sellers despite their modest net worth and their recent incorporation. The investigation further revealed that all these supply companies were registered in a short period of fewer than three months. Further advances were made by GTL to vendors amounting to Rs 2,113.76 crore in the financial year 2009-10 against which only Rs 65.33 crore material was received, the CBI said.
During the financial year 2010-11, GRTL provided an additional Rs 4,438.20 crore to the same entities against which the material received was only Rs 708.70 crore. In the financial year 2011-12, advances of Rs.256.16 crore were again made, and nothing was received against this advance. RBI, in its letter, had advised IDBI Bank, one of GTL’s lenders, to alert GTL and initiate a forensic audit. However, two months later, IDBl Bank responded on behalf of the consortium that it was not classifying the account as a red flag and also not appointing a forensic auditor as it could delay the settlement of dues, the CBI FIR said.
The investigation further revealed that RBI, in its letter dated July 15, 2016, again directed IDBl Bank to comply with the directions of its earlier letter. Accordingly, NBS and Co. Chartered Accountant was appointed. IDBI Bank could not immediately be reached for comment on this story. The audit revealed major irregularities, including “much lower” purchases from vendors compared to higher advances provided. In essence, a substantial portion of the advance money was diverted back to GTL by the supplier firms, amounting to fraud, the CBI said.
GTL LTD. (GTL) – COMPANY HISTORY
GTL Limited, a part of the Global Group, started its life on 23rd December 1987 as a private limited company under the name GTL Tele-Systems Pvt. Ltd. GTL is a leading ISO 14001:2004 and ISO 9001:2000 certified network services company that offers services and solutions to meet the network lifecycle requirements of telecommunications operators and technology providers (OEMs) and implements projects with its solutions in more than 35 countries. in the area of wireless communication from 2G networks to 3G and 4G from WiMAX to IPTV.
Services include network planning, design, Network deployment, Operation and maintenance, Infrastructure, management, Energy management, and professional services. Worldwide offices are located in the US, the UK, the Middle East, India, Bangladesh, Mauritius, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nigeria, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Australia, and South Africa. The company introduced products such as single-line push-button telephones, Apple Computers telecommunications product distribution service, and Desktop Publishing Systems in 1988-89, and the same year established a new customer service division called GTL Care.
In 1990, GTL planned a nationwide distribution network and in the same year implemented 3 offices. The company made its first major international tie-up with Murata Japan in 1991, the same year GTL launched its Networking and Engineering Services division. In 1992, GTL went public with an Initial Public Offer (IPO) by issuing Rs. 1.80 crores which has been overwritten 53.17 times and has been applied to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for the provision of data-related services.
In 1993, the company added the interactive Response system Instant Voice Access System Message Switching, and the implementation of voice and data network projects and projects on turnkey wireless networks began. GTL establishes the group company GTL Electronic Commerce Services Ltd. (GECS) to provide value-added services and is getting a license from DoT for data-related services. In 1994, GTL added fiber optic and V-SAT networks for voice data transmission and multimedia communications to its network portfolio.
The company has completed the commissioning of India’s largest private nationwide data network covering nine cities at a price of Rs. 100 crore in 1995, and during the same time, the company’s service network expanded to 26 locations in India. In 1997, the company formed a joint venture (JV) with Broadsystem Multimedia Australia to establish a call management company in India. During 1998, The company revised its corporate strategy and migrated to a predominantly service-oriented business, and began a planned exit of selected products.
The company established an Oracle Competence Center in 1999 and established Nortel CISCO Labs in the same year. In 2000, new B2B service applications were developed – GTL E-enterprise – an Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) package for SMEs was introduced, and GTL moved out of its Subscriber End Terminal Division. The company merged the GECS group company in 2001, and the same year, the company bought two software companies, Fine Infotech Limited (FIL) and Thermax Systems & Software Limited (TSSL), and established a 51% subsidiary under the name GTL E-Secure Ltd. with a focus on security Solutions for businesses.
The company was ranked in the 200 best small businesses by Forbes magazine. The company name was changed to ‘GTL Limited’ in 2001. GTL strengthened its international presence with more than 100 employees and eleven offices in 2002. In the same year, it was rated at SEI-CMM Level 4 for Enterprise Solutions – Software Development, and GTL’s Call Center division was ranked third in the ITES sector by NASSCOM.
The company won the Golden Peacock National Quality Award in 2003. A total of 16 critical company processes were carried as Six Sigma Initiatives projects. The company was awarded- Nortel N Power Partner of the Year 2005, by Nortel Networks. In 2006, the company acquired the British company Genesis Consultancy. GTL opened an office in Thailand, and during the same year, the company implemented its first project in Africa. The ‘APAC Partner of the Year 2006’ award was presented to the company for the special edition of Oracle E-Business Suite.
In 2007, The company spun off the Enterprise Networks and Managed Services business to Orange Business Services, a subsidiary of France Telecom. The company won the prestigious Golden Peacock Global Award for Corporate Governance. The company has entered into a strategic alliance with Ericsson UK to offer managed network infrastructure services to customers in the UK and Ireland. GTL International, the company’s 100% international subsidiary, acquired SCS, a Network Deployment Company in the US, and acquired ADA Cellworks, an optimization player in Asia Pacific.
In February 2008, GTL Limited and Ericsson UK entered into a strategic alliance to jointly address the UK Managed Network Infrastructure Services market. The company has formed a strategic alliance with Vanu Inc, a leading software radio innovator for the wireless infrastructure industry. The agreement was concluded in March 2008 in the market for shared active infrastructure services in India.
Edited by Prakriti Arora