Sunil Kakkad of Sai InfoSystems Arraigned by CBI
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Over the next decade, BSNL would become central to the company’s rise.
SIS started by providing computer systems to, and maintaining them for, BSNL. When IT firms that had been given a contract by the telco to build a billing system abandoned the project, SIS took over and completed it.
By the end of 2012, SIS was responsible for the roll-out of over Rs.200 crore of BSNL projects. These included voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) or Internet telephony services in two zones, four Internet data centres across India and local area networking of 280 universities for the government’s ambitious National Mission on Education through ICT.
SIS’s revenue came mainly from these and other government contracts and was reputedly further enhanced by Kakkad’s connection with Sam Pitroda described as a “family friend”.
Pitroda inaugurated BSNL and SIS Internet telephony services. He placed the first VoIP call through the system in 2012. Also, SIS subsidiary SIS Global’s office is located in the vicinity of Pitroda’s Oak Brook office in Illinois in the US.
SIS’s fall from grace was as sudden as it was steep. It was in 2013 when Sunil Kakkad fled the country. In 2011-12, according to the company’s audited financial statement, SIS made a net profit of Rs.113.81 crore on revenue of Rs.1,618.97 crore. In 2012-13, it made a profit of Rs.144.27 crore on revenue of Rs.2,061.97 crore. The audited financial statement for 2012-13 was never filed with the Registrar of Companies (RoC). No financial numbers were available for 2013-14.
By the time Kakkad fled, SIS had already stopped paying its employees, although it had around Rs.2,400 crore of orders on its books (or, at least, on paper). And Kakkad’s family had moved to Chicago. 1,400 employees of the company were left in the lurch. Also left high and dry were banks that had loaned a little over Rs.1,000 crore to SIS. Subsequently in June 2014, Kakkad was arrested in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, by Interpol.