Housing financing company, Dewan Housing Finance Ltd (DHFL), launched a broadside against news website CobraPost, which accused the mortgage lender of siphoning of more than Rs 31,000 crore of public money, saying the "mischievous misadventure appears to have been done with a mala fide intent to cause damage to the goodwill and reputation of DHFL and resulting in erosion in shareholder value".
DHFL tanked 10 percent after news portal reported that as many as 32 Indian and foreign banks lent Rs 97,000 crore to DHFL group of companies with many borrower companies having the same addresses, directors and auditors.
"DHFL today received an email at 8.44 a.m. in the morning, with a follow-up reminder one hour later, seeking answers to 64 questions from CobraPost, many of which were laced with political innuendos. We are shocked and surprised to receive this inquiry this morning, although CobraPost had announced its press conference last Friday, i.e. 25 January 2019, to disclose an alleged financial scam," the company said in a press release on Tuesday.
Further, DHFL slammed CobraPost for not asking questions during their investigations, "Their entire approach raises serious concerns about the motivation of this so-called expose. It is necessary in public interest that if they believed in the genuineness of their issues to have given DHFL an opportunity to explain the facts that are in any case available in the public domain."
The company said, "Despite the recent liquidity regime, DHFL as a responsible corporate has met all its obligations to the lenders and has paid back to them in excess of Rs 17,000 crore in the last three months. DHFL has a strong corporate governance regime and has received AAA credit rating from leading credit agencies. The company is fully tax compliant and its books are audited by global auditors."
Calling allegations by CobraPost as an exercise to destabilise the company and market equilibrium, DHFL said, "We understand, for the last several weeks, an anonymous note has been making the rounds with similar defamatory and scurrilous allegations. We are also concerned about the timing and the holding of the press conference before the stock market close and days before the interim budget."
"DHFL is a responsible and law-abiding corporate citizen and all loans are disbursed in the normal course of business in accordance with industry best practices and in compliance with all regulatory norms. The company’s financial statements are submitted to the stock exchanges and are in the public domain. DHFL and its group companies are confident of meeting any scrutiny on any aspect of our operations and will pursue these frivolous allegations to its logical conclusion," the company said.Shares of DHFL settled at Rs 172.35 apiece, down 6.79 percent on the BSE.