Investors cheated by Birla to get their dues
More than three years after a cheating case was registered against Birla Power Solutions Ltd (BPSL) for allegedly cheating investors of Rs 300-400 crore, the company is now in the process of returning the money.
On December 30, 2013, a cheating case was registered against BPSL for allegedly floating fixed deposit (FD) schemes offering interest at 10.75 per cent per annum. The company is alleged to have cheated 100-150 companies and hundreds of individual investors. Anant Vardhan, president of corporate affairs and communications at the Yash Birla group, said, "The scheme was the brainchild of PVR Murthy (then CFO). I am trying to clear it. My priority is to raise money and pay the investors. All I am looking for is a fresh start. We don’t want a single person go without being repaid."
He added, "BPSL and the promoter have always maintained their intent to settle the FDs on priority and are pleased to announce that the process of settlement is well underway. Despite the company being under liquidation, the group has been successful in its talks with various investors to ensure funds can be generated to settle the FDs."
Yash Birla told mid-day, "We are right now interested in clearing individual FDs on a priority basis, and Vardhan has played a significant role in clearing the dues by getting new investors." Vardhan added, "We have paid around Rs 51 crore to 775 individual investors. We are left with around 400 individual investors who are owed Rs 3.56 crore. We are ready with demand drafts and cheques, and are trying to reach out to the investors. We want them to come and claim their money. As for the companies, out of Rs 211 crore, Rs 120 crore remains to be paid. We are in the process of repaying this as well."
In October last year, the economic offences wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police had filed an additional chargesheet of around 13,000 pages against Yash Birla, CFO PVR Murthy, Anant Vardhan and several others. All the accused were charged under sections 420 (cheating), 409 (criminal breach of trust) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC, along with sections of the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors Act.
EOW has seized several properties of the Birla group and some are being auctioned. Vardhan said when they learned about the complaint being filed, they immediately filed for anticipatory bail, which was granted by the court. "We were under immense stress that the company would be attached, but we found a strategic investor who believed in us and helped us pay the investors," he said.
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