Zee chairman Subhash Chandra said that his company had signed formal agreements with stock broker Ketan Parekh for acquisition of equity stakes in Amitabh Bachchan-promoted AB Corp Ltd and television channel B4U. Zee Telefilms has been repaid Rs 50-60 crore by investment companies of promoters out of the total Rs 220 crore believed to have been paid by the company to Parekh. The balance amount would be repaid along with interest at the earliest but not later than June 30, 2001.
While stating that “It was a bad commercial judgment to have entered into an agreement with Mr Parekh as Zee was not aware of his wrong doings,” Mr Chandra said no financial liability would be imposed on Zee Telefilms Ltd. “It was an error of judgment on our part and because of this we have decided to transfer the liability on account of the money paid to Mr Parekh for these stakes to investment companies owned by promoters,” Mr Chandra added.
The Zee chairman said his group paid the money to Parekh as the stock broker was looking for financial help and offered to sell his stakes in AB Corp and B4U to Zee at very attractive prices.
He added that as per information provided to the Zee group by Parekh, the stock broker had invested about Rs 75 crore in AB Corp for a 28.5 per cent equity stake and Rs 46 crore in B4U for a 15 per cent stake.
However, B4U has claimed that Parekh’s holding was much lower. Mr Chandra said both the companies were yet to issue share certificates to Parekh against the money paid by him for acquisition of stakes in the two companies because of which Zee had to sign agreements with him to safeguard itself.
While Mr Chandra admitted that Zee has “taken a credibility beating due to KP (Ketan Parekh) connection”, he said the group is confident of emerging out of it as various businesses are looking up again.