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Subramanian Swamy moves Delhi High Court seeking probe against Axis Bank

In his petition, Swamy has alleged Axis Bank made undue profits totalling Rs 4,000 crore from the sale and purchase of equity shares of Max Life in a non-transparent manner and in violation of the applicable regulations.
Last Updated : 15 February 2024, 15:35 IST
Last Updated : 15 February 2024, 15:35 IST

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New Delhi: BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Thursday urged the Delhi High Court to order a probe into an alleged fraud committed by Axis Bank to make "undue profits" through sale and purchase of shares in Max Life Insurance.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet PS Arora listed the public interest litigation (PIL) for further hearing on March 13 after senior counsel appearing for Axis Bank said they had not been served a copy of the plea.

Swamy, a former BJP MP, has sought a direction from the court for constituting a committee of experts to investigate the matter, asserting that the "rot" in private sector banks should be brought to light.

In his petition, Swamy has alleged Axis Bank made undue profits totalling Rs 4,000 crore from the sale and purchase of equity shares of Max Life in a non-transparent manner and in violation of the applicable regulations.

"Axis Bank sold its stake of 0.998 per cent shares of Max Life in March 2021 to MFSL (Max Financial Services Ltd) & Mitsui Sumitomo International at INR 166/- per share. Subsequently, in a very short span of time i.e., in March-April 2021 itself, Axis Bank Limited and its group entities acquired 12.002 per cent shares from MFSL at price range of INR 31.51 - INR 32.12 per share," the petition said.

"12.002 per cent of shareholding in Max Life is bought by the Axis Bank group companies at Rs. 31.51 / Rs. 32.12 per share at total consideration of 736 Crores, which is evidently below the fair market value. On simple calculation, resulting in undue profits/gains from the purchase on the sale of equity shares of Max Life in non-transparent manner, Axis Bank has unlawfully gained approx. Rs. 4000 Crores," the petition claimed.

The plea said even Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) imposed a penalty of Rs 3 crore on Max Life but this amount is "negligible" against the total "fraud" of Rs 4,000 crore by Axis Bank resulting in unlawful gains.

"It is, therefore, prayed that this Hon’ble Court may intervene by directing investigation by a Committee of Experts appointed by it, as also by directing the formulation of proper and comprehensive guidelines in accordance with the recommendations of such Committee, to prevent such future acts/transactions of such nature and to regulate the arrangements entered into between banks or other financial/ insurance institutions," the petition said.

It said "rampant corruption" in the banking and insurance industry and the executive's "manifest unwillingness" to take requisite action gravely impairs the right of the people to live in a corruption-free society.

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Published 15 February 2024, 15:35 IST

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