Pune: Caterers claim RWITC left them high and dry with losses amounting to Rs 60 lakh

Pune: The caterers at the Pune racecourse premises — Smita Chinoy and her husband Ratan Chinoy — have filed a complaint against the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) for criminal breach of trust, cheating and harassment, alleging that the race club officials, with “a common dishonest intention and in connivance with each other [sic]”, made “fraudulent representations”, and caused them “wrongful loss” of Rs 60 lakh.

Ratan Chinoy and Smita Chinoy
Ratan Chinoy and Smita Chinoy

Smita filed a complaint with the Wanowrie (Pune) police station last month, naming RWITC chairman Zavaray Poonawalla, committee member Geoffrey Nagpal and additional secretary NHS Mani as accused, besides three other club members, Suren Sanas, Hector Vapiwalla and Buder Ghadiali, who were part of the working group of the Turf Club House, Pune.

The Chinoys claim they have been duped by RWITC. “Despite knowing that the RWITC did not have valid licenses in place, the club issued us an offer letter in June 2015 and accepted R20 lakh as interest-free deposit from us,” Ratan said, adding that they were made to pay for part of the renovation and other equipment, and staff salaries. They said that a five-year contract for a restaurant at Victoria Hall on the first floor, was part of the deal. Ratan said, “The club knew, but didn’t tell us the place did not have a single valid license in place — not even a fire department NOC.” “They were supposed to sign the agreement with us before July 1 last year, but that promise was never kept,” Ratan added. They were made to pay the 75-member staff more after they pointed out they were being paid less. They were promised they would be paid the difference. “So in good faith, we started paying Rs 9,80,000 per month instead of Rs 4,75,000,” Ratan said.

“We exhausted our cash and other resources, even the credit in the market as we still owe most of our suppliers.” Their CA SG Naik says their losses could be close to Rs 2.5 crore.

‘Making mountain out of a molehill’
Zavaray Poonawalla, chairman, RWITC, said, “There is a dispute about receipts and payments. I am shocked because the entire matter was resolved and Ratan Chinoy had put in his resignation as he was finding it difficult to run his business because he owed money to a lot of vendors and suppliers. They are making a mountain out of a molehill.”

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