MUMBAI: A UK and European electrical vehicles partnership company is struggling to raise funds of around $8 billion to implement Rs2,800-crore electric buses deal with the Mumbai authorities, Indian govt sources have said.
Indian-Canadian businessman Sri Ram Tumuluri’s England & Wales registered Causis Group Ltd won in October 2021 a tender for supplying The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) with 1,400 electric vehicles but nearly two years later the company is struggling to raise funds and the whole deal is under threat, according to Indian sources familiar with the backdoor discussions around the deal.
UK-based Causis is wholly owned by Tumuluri. Its operating entity is India-registered Causis E-Mobility Pvt Ltd. While on paper it is owned by its directors Marudur Subramanyam Chandrasekar and Ravi Kumar Panga, Causis E-Mobility is in reality controlled by Tumuluri.
An Indian government source said: “Causis is using the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Maharashtra Government as a security but banks are demanding sovereign guarantee from the state government, which has not been approved by the government. Causis is struggling to arrange debt and their efforts are ongoing but it is evident Causis has so far failed to find any credible lenders. On paper, there are lots of promises but there is zero delivery so far.”
A source at Causis E-Mobility Pvt Ltd said that Ram Tumuluri has personally invested in his new Electrical Vehicles (EV) venture Causis and is looking for funding but so far his efforts have not succeeded and with latest issues arising in Malta, things are not looking promising.
The Mumbai authority fears that Ram Tumuluri may defraud his investors and business partners as Causis does not have manufacturing or technical capabilities and his German partner, an alleged KGB / FSB agent has no track record in electrical vehicles.
Ram Tumuluri lives often in UK’s Sunningdale area in Ascot in a six-bedroom detached house purchased by his wife Sonya Sarah Tumuluri on 25 February 2021 for £2,550,000 with a mortgage with West One Loan Limited.
In 2021, Tumuluri entered the electric vehicle (“EV”) sector in the UK, India, and Germany using the brand Causis. He has been spending a significant amount of time and effort in building the new venture. He is in regular communication with Causis executives and pays them out of his own pocket.
Tumuluri is heavily involved in its fund-raising activities and is looking to raise $6-8 billion in India through Causis E-Mobility which was incorporated on 04 June 2021 in New Delhi, India, under company number U34102DL2021PTC381936. Its statutory Directors and Shareholders are Marudur Subramanyam Chandrasekar and Ravi Kumar Panga.
Causis executives told Indian news outlet The Economic Times that, through its impact investment fund, the company is looking for an investment of $ 6-8 billion in India with 30% of it coming from equity funding and the rest through debt financing locally. They also said the company has already invested around Rs 300 crore in India towards the acquisition of a bus body manufacturer in Jaipur and a 75-acre plot near Pune for its second plant.
Causis is using the MoU with Maharashtra Government as a security, but banks are demanding sovereign guarantee from the state government, which has not been approved by the government. This is the biggest obstacle Causis is facing, according to the govt insiders.
According to an article by Indian news outlet The Indian Express, Causis won a tender for supplying The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) with 1,400 electric buses. In October 2021, the Maharashtra state government, in the presence of environment minister Aaditya Thackeray and industry minister Subhash Desai, signed the contract for Rs 2,800 crore ($370,000).
Aaditya’s father is Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who is also the Chief of Shiv Sena, a regional political party. Subhash Desai is described as “the Thackeray family loyalist” by Indian press.
Maltese news outlet The Shift News reported Tumuluri’s EV venture in an article titled “Ram Tumuluri suspected of replicating ‘fraudulent’ Malta VGH model in Mumbai”.
Recently it also came to light that a German businessman with KGB and Vladimir Putin links is a partner in the major Indian Rs2,800-crore electric buses deal Sri Ram Tumuluri.
Investigation reveals that Sri Ram Tumuluri’s German national partner Thomas-Christan Seitz is known for close ties with Kremlin and has worked for the interests of KGB and Russian President Putin.
Indian authorities have said they have asked Causis to update with the progress but received no response in three months. The deal stands to be annulled if the funding proofs are not provided to the Indian authorities soon, said the source.