On Friday, the ministry of corporate affairs approached the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) seeking to reopen the books of Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) group.
The government is looking to open financial statements of two units in the group, that is, IL&FS Financial Services Ltd and IL&FS Transportation Networks Ltd (ITNL), alleging to seek evidence of alleged auditing lapses after two initial probes found evidence of financial mismanagement.
The decision comes after preliminary investigations by the Serious Fraud and Investigations Office (SFIO) and Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) indicated that the accounts of these units were mismanaged and had fraudulent transactions.
The tribunal has asked the government to notify regulators and tax authorities involved in its petition and has set 1 January as the next date of hearing.
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs allows the reopening of old accounts under section 130 of the Companies Act under court order if these were prepared in a fraudulent manner and raising doubts on its reliability.
The government had replaced the management of the troubled infrastructure financier in October, which had missed a series of its debt obligations this year. The group's incapacity to repay $12.6 billion in borrowings had roiled the credit market and tightened the rules for other non-banking finance companies as well.