The case no 11 in the NewsX NPA files is Pixion and the Tewaris. Our list shows Pixion owes Vijaya Bank more than Rs 139 crore rupees which has been classified as an NPA. The registered address is 1/5783, Balbir Nagar, Shahdara, Delhi. This is a story of how one of Bollywood’s and Indian cinemas biggest VFX studios created a network of companies and defaulted on loans of almost Rs 1000 crore to a consortium of banks. The Report on Compliance (ROC) records shows that the firm was incorporated in 1986 with an authorised capital of Rs 40 crore. Its last balance sheet was filed in March 2014 and it’s last Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in September 2014. Its directors are listed as Prabodh Tewari and Ranjit Tiwari.
These same Tewari’s are listed no less than 10 times in the NewsX NPA files. It’s not just Pixion Media. They were running a host of firms serving the film industry all which has huge defaults. Pearl Studio owes Vijaya Bank another Rs 164 crore. The same company owes oriental Bank of Commerce Rs 111 crore. Mahua Media owes Punjab National Bank Rs 104 crore, Century Communication owes Oriental Bank of Commerce Rs 95 crores, State Bank of Hyderabad Rs 79 crore, State Bank of India Rs 63 crore, Andhra Bank Rs 38 crore and there is Pixion vision that owes the Oriental Bank of Commerce Rs 74 crore and Pear Vision which owes Oriental Bank of Commerce another Rs 84 crore and that’s a whopping default of Rs 951 crore. The total outstanding to banks is estimated to be Rs 1959 crore.
Reports from 2015 suggest they group owes money to Indian Overseas Bank, Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, Union Bank, Syndicate Bank as well. But the assets pledged for security with these banks were valued at just Rs 187 crore. Therefore, Rs 1,959 crore loans were given with securities of just Rs 187 crores. How does that happen? The banks began auctioning their properties from 2016 onwards. Here’s a SBI auction notice valuing their Chennai studio at around Rs 10 crore rupees against an amount due of Rs 78 crore while Oriental Bank’s auction notice of its Noida studio valued at Rs 29 crore against a loan due of more than Rs 92 crore. This group of companies worked on the VFX of mega films like Krissh 3, Grand Masti and Bhaag Milka Bhaag. It also provided CG and VFX facilities to Ad firms and filmmakers. The same group also launched Mahua TV in 2008 which was India’s first Bhojpuri channel.
The Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate investigated them for syphoning of funds from 14 banks, filing 6 cases and even arrested PK Tewari and Anand Tewari in 2012 before they were released on bail. A report from 2015 suggests that these men diverted funds from their companies using fake invoices. The fake invoices were discovered after the font style in all the bills raised proved to be exactly the same.
During NewsX’s investigation on the ground, we found that one of the offices of the group in Kasturba Gandhi Marg in the heart of the national capital was locked. Meanwhile, we couldn’t find the main registered office in Shahadra in Delhi that was listed on the ROC records. Further investigating the matter, the locals suggested that it didn’t exist.
This is what’s happened. Pramod Tewari and PK Tewari set up their first firm in 1986. Over the years they set up several companies under the names of Pixion, Pearl and Century in 2008. They even started a Bhojpuri TV channel. They take loans of almost Rs 2,000 crore from more than 14 banks, working on some of India’s biggest movies, then they go bust, accused of fraud, CBI cases are filed by the securities recovered and sent to auction. We tried to write to one of the lender banks, Punjab National Bank but the email bounce back. So we tried to visit their branch. We also wrote to the registered email address of the group but got no response. This was the biggest case we’ve investigated so far.