Ghatkopar Jeweller Scam: Employees fear directors' arrest might delay salaries after Rs 300 crore crisis

Updated: Nov 13, 2019, 08:16 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon | Mumbai

Court sends Ghatkopar's Rasiklal Sankalchand Jewellers directors to police custody till November 18; cops prepare for their interrogation

The firm owes over Rs 1 crore to its 55 employees as salaries. File pic
The firm owes over Rs 1 crore to its 55 employees as salaries. File pic

While it might be good news for some that two directors of the M/s Rasiklal Sankalchand Jewellers (Pvt) Ltd have been arrested in the over Rs 4,000 crore scam, about 55 employees of the company think otherwise. Without salaries for the past five months and no alternate jobs in hand, the employees are in a fix, and the directors' arrest is making them feel that now it would be all the more difficult to get their dues.

On Tuesday, the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) produced directors Jayesh Raskilal Shah, 55, and Nilesh Rasiklal Shah, 53, before the Esplanade Court, which sent them to police custody until November 18.

Speaking to mid-day, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Shrikant Paropkari said, "During the initial inquiry, the directors were not cooperating with us, hence we had to arrest them. And now that we have got their custody, we will begin the interrogation."

Speaking on condition of anonymity, one of the employees said, "We have been on the receiving end of everything. First, we have not been paid our salaries for the past five months. We trusted the employer and stood by him till the last day, only because he assured us our payments. And now with their arrest, even the hope of getting our salaries is giving us nightmares." The company owes over Rs 1 crore to 55 employees as salaries. Most of them (employees) were hired at posts like assistant public relation officer and business executive at salaries ranging from Rs 15,000 to Rs 40,000, depending on their years of experience. Some of the employees have been working with them for over a decade. When asked about the company's sudden downfall, another employee said, "The firm was facing financial problems for the past six months. They were not getting fresh gold stock from the market, as they were unable to pay the vendors. Secondly, the price of gold kept fluctuating, which in turn adversely impacted the sale. And we recently learnt that they owe a lot of money to gold jewellery manufacturers across the country."

"We pleaded before our employer to pay us our salaries on the eve of Diwali, but they did not. We were given a meager Rs 6,000, not as bonus, but as a part payment of our pending salaries," pointed out a staffer. He further said that the employees were hoping to get their money after the labour commissioner issued a notice to the company, but the arrest of the two directors has just given reasons to them to not pay the salaries.

Another employee alleged that on the day of the incident when hundreds of investors thronged the shop, the directors had asked the workers to ensure that all the gold and diamond jewellery were handed over to their relatives from the back door and they were even successful in doing it. However, after entering the store the investors took some of the stock that was still left, as part of their settlement.

The EOW said that they had recovered silver from the fourth floor of the outlet, which establishes the claims made by the employees. "We will corroborate all the information during custodial interrogation of the accused and will also find out about the monetary transactions. We will also call their family members and other employees for recording statements, as and when needed," said a senior EOW officer.

When contacted, state labour commissioner, M Kalyankar said, "The employees will now have to move the labour court and we will submit our report in the matter accordingly. We will support the employees who have not received their salaries." He further said that the directors' arrest would not affect the proceedings.

Rs 1 crore
Amount Rasiklal owes to the employees as salaries

55
No. of employees who have not got their salaries for 5 months

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