DUBAI:A former top official, Srinivasan Narasimhan, at Malayali owned Pacific Controls – accused of complicity in Dh370 million (Rs 765 Cr) of missing company funds – has been detained by Dubai authorities. It is believed that the individual had flown into the country to dispose of some properties he had in the city, which was when the authorities picked him up.
Threre is a travel ban against the official, company sources added.
Srinivasan fled Dubai in 2016 with three senior accountants, including Bino Chirakadavil Augustin, Siju Mathew, both Keralites, and Jacquelyn Chan Mapoi from the Philippines.
“It is unimaginable how such vast quantum of wealth has been accumulated by Mr. Srinivasan Narasimhan,” said a Pacific Controls spokesperson. “A criminal case has been filed with Dubai Police and Mr. Narasimhan is answerable to the fraudulent activities conducted by him in Pacific Controls.”
The Jebel Ali headquartered company had been one of the pioneers in sustainability solutions, but in 2016 stumbled badly after it found itself in a position where it was saddled with heavy bank exposures.
The company was founded by Dilip Rahulan, who too has not been in the country for some time. There is also a case pending against Rahulan. His name had cropped up in SNC Lavalin case too.
It was also the time when an audit found that the company had a Dh370 million hole, which it could not account for and set in motion a events that nearly brought the business down.
The detention of Srinivasan is a “turning point in the journey towards recovery of PCS,” the spokesperson added. “The management has been relentlessly working to restructure, pay back debs and bring the company back to its former glory.
“The company’s technology, innovations and contributions through its data center infrastructure and cloud computing services are still being offered to both government and private sectors.”
According to information available, the current Pacific Controls management had lodged a complaint with Dubai Police that the finance manager Srinivasan Narasimhan and his team fraudulently created and operated bank accounts in the company’s name, creation of loans, personal guarantees, cheques and bank transfers using fake signatures of Rahulan without his knowledge and consent.
It is alleged that Srinivasan converted the company’s banking facilities into cash, creating and operating fake bank accounts in the company’s name, and transferring hundreds of millions of dirhams.
Asset tracking conducted by independent agencies have indicated that Srinivasan and his family are owners and directors of several companies in India, owning properties registered in third-party names in Ketty Valley, Chennai and Hyderabad. These entities took shape and got active post-2016.
Once it got caught out by the missing funds and heavy debts, Pacific Controls tried a restructuring exercise in 2016 under the guidance of KPMG and Kochaar and Company Inc. However, it did not progress due to lack of funding needed for a high-profile restructuring process.
“Our investigations found that Narasimhan and his three accomplices, who were managing accounts at PCS, had erased critical data and took away computer hard disks before fleeing. We also uncovered from their desk drawers several forged documents purportedly signed by founder chairman Dilip Rahulan, several company seals. A forensic probe later revealed that Rahulan’s signatures were forged and the company stamps were fakes,” the source said.
But now, the company has found itself in a position of relative stability. It is not known whether the current management issued fresh equity, or whether the bank exposures were refinanced.
“We have been in discussions with the banks – the management is committed to reach a settlement agreement with all the banks and creditors at the earliest,” a spokesperson added.
Clients included Dubai Civil Defense, Roads Transport Authority, Dubai Airport, Etisalat, Mobily and King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia.
The crisis-ridden PCS, which is currently seeking to restructure Dh1.4 billion bank debts, has been struggling ever since Rahulan left to the US in May 2016, and did not return to Dubai due to some legal developments. He was later sentenced by Dubai court to a three-year jail term in absentia for issuing dud cheques.
Rahulan set up Pacific Controls in Australia in 1984 before expanding the company to Dubai where it emerged as a leader in environmental friendly building systems, while pioneering the launch of cloud services and establishing one of the largest certified data center campus in the Middle East in 2010.
The company, which counts telecoms firms as strategic business partners, including etisalat, Mobily and other GCC government entities, had been in talks with UAE banks over debt restructuring caused by delayed payments from some of its clients.
Srinivasan was spotted by a Pacific Controls official at a documentation centre in Dubai while he was in a secret mission to dispose his Dubai property, which is among several properties he owns in India and abroad, including the development of a very large luxury resort in Ooty.
The assets worth crores have been registered in the name of KT Valley Estates Pvt Ltd (KVEPL) and KT Valley Enterprises India Pvt. The major investments are in Ooty, other parts of Tamil Nadu and Hyderabad. 500 crore worth of investments in Ooty alone. A resort project on 100 acres is also in progress.
According to records, his wife bought a Rolls-Royce car in 2016. It is registered in Coimbatore.
Meanwhile, an investigation by National Bank of Oman has found that the company has a liability of Rs 2,200 crore. It was found that the funds of the company were repatriated through some institutions.
Dilip, who was an officer in Love Lynn, has been in the news as a middleman in transactions and is known in Kerala.