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Income tax department questions Matix Group chairman over NuPower links

Matix Group chairman Nishant Kanodia is Essar Group patriarch Ravi Ruia’s son-in-law and owns the Mauritius-based Firstland Holdings Ltd that invested Rs325 crore in NuPower between 2010 and 2012.

business Updated: May 31, 2018 13:56 IST
P Suchetana Ray
P Suchetana Ray
New Delhi, Hindustan Times
Matix Group chairman,NuPower,Deepak Kochhar
Matix Group chairman Nishant Kanodia owns the Mauritius-based Firstland Holdings Ltd that invested Rs325 crore in NuPower, a company promoted by Deepak Kochhar (in picture), between 2010 and 2012. (File photo)

The income tax department has questioned Matix Group chairman Nishant Kanodia in connection with the department’s probe into NuPower Renewables, a company promoted by Deepak Kochhar, the husband of ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar, said people aware of the matter in the agency.

Nishant Kanodia is Essar Group patriarch Ravi Ruia’s son-in-law and owns the Mauritius-based Firstland Holdings Ltd that invested Rs325 crore in NuPower between 2010 and 2012. Earlier this month, the tax department had raided several locations related to companies owned by Kanodia.

“We are probing this investment that was routed through Mauritius. What is the source of the funds, why did Firstland Holdings exit NuPowrer soon after and whether this has connections with any Essar Group company,” said a tax officer who did not wish to be identified.

Essar has denied that it has anything to do with Firstland’s investments in NuPower and also said that it has not invested in NuPower.

After making the investment between 2010 and 2012, Firstland sold its stake in NuPower in 2013 to DH Renewables, another Mauritius-based company.

“The question is why did Firstland invest ₹325 crore in NuPower which got it 49% stake in the company only to offload that stake to DH Renewables within a year?” said another officer who’s part of the agencies probing NuPower.

The officer quoted above, who too asked not to be identified, claimed that Firstland exited NuPower without any gains on their investment.

While Deepak Kochhar has all along maintained that DH Renewables is an investment vehicle of Accion Diversified Strategies Fund, but the tax department is probing if it is a dummy company acting as a front for some other Indian company that benefited from loans provided by ICICI Bank.

The tax department has sent several tax notices to Deepak Kochhar seeking his financial details of investments made by Firstland Holdings and DH Renewables. The department has already questioned Deepak Kochhar and Videocon’s Venugopal Dhoot.

First Published: May 30, 2018 17:41 IST