Yash Birla group used older name of company to lure investors?

Investors in Birla Power Solutions allege that despite the name of Birla Global Corporate Ltd (BGCL) being changed to IndoAsean Oceanic Exports Pvt Ltd in 2009, bills of exchange given by them had directors signing as co-acceptors, on behalf of BGCL, even until 2012

Was the Yash Birla group receiving money for the troubled company Birla Power Solutions by making a company that had ceased to exist the co-acceptor? According to documents made available to this paper by some of the investors, while receiving money for Birla Power Solutions, directors of another company, Birla Global Corporate Limited, had signed as co-acceptors.

Yash Birla
Yash Birla

Documents available with mid-day show that, in 2009, the name of Birla Global Corporate Limited was changed to IndoAsean Oceanic Exports Private Limited and the Registrar of Companies had been informed.

A bill of exchange from November 2010 shows Birla Global Corporate Limited as co-acceptor
A bill of exchange from November 2010 shows Birla Global Corporate Limited as co-acceptor

Even up to 2012, however, bills of exchange from investors to Birla Power Solutions still had signatures of directors signing on behalf of Birla Global Corporate limited as co-acceptors. The Birla group alleges discrepancies on the Registrar of Companies (ROC) website.

Troubled waters
For a long time, the Yash Birla group has been making headlines for its company, Birla Power Solutions, not being able to refund investors from whom money was taken promising high interest returns.

The letter has the then Assistant Registrar of Companies accepting that the name of Birla Corporate Private Limited has been changed to IndoAsean Oceanic Exports Private Limited on June 24, 2009
The letter has the then Assistant Registrar of Companies accepting that the name of Birla Corporate Private Limited has been changed to IndoAsean Oceanic Exports Private Limited on June 24, 2009

mid-day had reported (‘Yash Birla slapped with Rs 2-crore cheating case’, June 10, 2013), how, beginning in 2013, many investors had even registered complaints of cheque bouncing under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. One such case had been registered against Yash Birla, his wife Avanti and directors and the then top bosses of different group companies, including Anant Vardhan, PVR Murthy and Tushar Dey.

While Murthy was arrested in January 2014, subsequently released on bail and has not been associated with the Yash Birla group since, Dey also left the group almost a year ago. Vardhan is currently the vice-president of the Yash Birla group.

While Yash Birla has claimed that he had, using his personal wealth, paid off most of the investors, some disgruntled investors came together this year to form a forum to get their money back. They discovered the name change two months ago and the Yash Birla Investors Grievances Forum now has approximately 200 members.

They claim even until 2012, three years after the company’s name was changed to IndoAsean Oceanic Exports Private Limited, one of the then directors, Tushar Dey, had signed as co-acceptor on behalf of Birla Global Corporate Ltd, while receiving the bills of exchange from investors for Birla Power Solutions.

‘Cheated’
There are many big names who had deposited money with Birla Power Solutions in the hope of getting high returns. One such person was Vikram Singh Rathore, who had invested R97.05 lakh, between 2009-2012, in Birla Power solutions.

A bill of exchange for the amount of Rs 3.75 lakh that he had issued in favour of Birla Power Solutions on May 30, 2012, was received by PVR Murthy for Birla Power Solution and was also signed by Tushar Dey as co-acceptor for Birla Global Corporate Limited.

“We were told that if anything goes wrong with Birla Power Solutions, Birla Global Corporate Limited would be the co-guarantor or co-acceptor, which increased our trust in the company and we deposited the money,” said Rathore. The company would issue post-dated cheques to investors, but several of them were dishonoured.

For instance, a cheque for Rs 3.75 lakh that was made out to Rathore by Birla Power Solutions in lieu of his investment of the same amount was dishonoured, with account closure being cited as the reason. This made Rathore and other investors start their own investigations and they found out about the name of Birla Global Corporate Ltd being changed.

“Two months ago, we came to know that the company named Birla Global had ceased to function and its new name on ROC records is IndoAsean Oceanic Exports Private Limited. This was done in June 2009. This is clear cut cheating and forgery,” said Rathore.

‘Fix responsibility’
Others like Rathore include top industrialist and builder Ramesh Mittal of the famous Mittal Towers and Chambers. He claims he invested R50 lakh in the company and that the same thing had happened to him.

He showed mid-day a bill of exchange from November 2010, which had Birla Global Corporate Limited as a co-acceptor. Members from the forum wondered that when PVR Murthy went behind bars, how is it that the others remained free.

They claim that during the period when investments were being made in Birla Power Solutions, all advertisements made on Birla Power’s behalf featured Yash Birla’s photos prominently. However, when the company started facing troubles, Yash Birla distanced himself from the company and, on various occasions, claimed that his employees were responsible.

Company speak
mid-day sent a detailed e-mail to Yash Birla group to which they replied: “There is a discrepancy in Registrar of Companies website with regards to Master Data and Conversion Certificate whereas all the other documents state name as Birla Global Corporate which is available on ROC website as public documents.

It is an error on their part, which we are following up and hopefully should be soon corrected. Secondly the Company has been filing its annual returns to ROC as Birla Global Corporate which can be also viewed on ROC website. Regarding the discrepancy one can surely check (Form 23 and Attachments) it on ROC website.

The company also sent us an e-mail yesterday which contained a letter, dated August 31, 2015, where the Yash Birla group has asked the ROC to change the name of the company on the Ministry of Corporate Affairs website from IndoAsean Oceanic Exports Private Limited to Birla Global Corporate Private Limited.

A detailed e-mail to Tushar Dey elicited this reply: “I have gone through your mail and will respond by 1 pm tomorrrow (Tuesday).” Dhananjay Kamlakar, Joint Commissioner of Economic Offences Wing said, “I cannot provide any information on this off-hand.”

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