VC firm Sequoia Capital's offices in Bengaluru were searched by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday.
Sequoia Capital confirmed the development over Twitter, and said that Monday's ED visit was part of the ongoing investigation into Vasan Eye Care, in which Sequoia India is a minority investor.
"Yesterday's ED visit is part of the ongoing investigation into Vasan where Sequoia India is a minority investor along with others. Sequoia has adopted a policy of full compliance with that investigation & has dutifully responded to governmental inquiries recd to date. We continue to co-operate with the ongoing investigation on Vasan," the company said over a series of three tweets.
Chennai-based Vasan Healthcare, founded by A.M. Arun, is a former healthcare unicorn that operates a chain of eye-care and dental clinics in India. Apart from Sequoia Capital, GIC (formerly Government of Singapore Investment Corporation) and Westbridge Capital Partners have also invested in the company.
A feature published by Livemint earlier this year explores the reasons why the company imploded, exploring its connections to Advantage Strategic Consulting, a company owned by Karti Chidambaram, son of former Union minister of finance P. Chidambaram.
Sequoia India issued a longer statement, reproduced in full.
Sequoia Capital India first came to know of a regulatory investigation into Vasan Healthcare through a newspaper article on 17th Sept, 2015 and took a few prompt steps - VT Bharadwaj, a Managing Director of Sequoia Capital India Advisors Private Limited, who was Sequoia Capital India's nominee on the Vasan Healthcare Board of Directors, demanded that management of Vasan Healthcare conduct a thorough investigation into the allegations. Subsequently, VT Bharadwaj resigned from the board of Vasan Healthcare on 18th November 2015.
Sequoia Capital India has fully supported the regulatory investigation, has adopted a policy of complete transparency and full compliance with that investigation, and continues to dutifully respond to all inquiries received to date. During the course of this investigation, the Sequoia Capital India team has met the ED officials multiple times and has answered every query placed before us. We adopted the same approach yesterday during the ED visit to our offices.
Contrary to media reports, Sequoia Capital India has absolutely no association with companies like Aircel or Maxis. Our only connection to the ED visit is that Sequoia Capital India is a minority investor in Vasan, which is one out of the 100+ investments made in India over the last 10 years.