Mumbai: 28 investors submit plaints with proof against Ghatkopar jeweller
Complainants are from Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane; collective investment has gone to over Rs 1 crore
Over 28 investors, with their collective investments running into over a crore submitted their complaints against the directors of Raskilal Sankalchand Jewellers of Ghatkopar East to the Pantnagar police, before the investigation, was handed over to the Economic Offences Wing (EOW). These complainants approached the Pantnagar police armed with documents to support their claims.
Senior Police Inspector Sanjay Bhalerao of Pantnagar police said, "The complainants claim to have invested in various gold schemes of the jewellery outlet. The complaints state that the jeweller cheated and duped them. The case will be probed by the EOW of Mumbai Crime Branch. We will hand over papers related to the investigation."
Investigating Officer, Assistant Police Inspector (API) S Y Kamuni, added, "The complainants are from various places in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Kalyan. Some invested in gold schemes while few blocked Rs 10 lakh and above. A complainant from Mulund she had had some jewellery made from Rasiklal jewellers. Her husband has not been keeping well and she wanted to sell the ornaments. The jeweller promised her Rs 10 lakh but never paid the money and kept the gold too." When asked about those who do not have proof of their investments, API Kamuni said, "Such investors can serve as witnesses. Their statements can be recorded."
Meanwhile, Kirit Somaiya, state vice president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accompanied employees of Rasiklal Jewellers to meet the Labour Commissioner. Nearly 55 employees have not received salaries and provident fund contribution for five months. Somaiya, while speaking to mid-day, said, "The Labour Commissioner acted on the complaint and issued a notice to the employer on Wednesday."
Gold in shop was mortgaged
Interestingly, the gold present in the shop was already mortgaged with a bank and the few investors who had gone to the shop along with MLA Parag Shah and taken gold, might get into trouble, legal experts said.
Dinesh Tiwari, senior criminal lawyer, opined, "The removal of gold from the jewellers' outlet under the pressure of hundreds of customers and in the presence of the local MLA was illegal as they were never authorised to distribute gold in such a way. The gold being mortgaged to the bank will make matters worse. If proper legal methods are adopted, customers who took the gold jewellery will have to give it up. Otherwise, they might also face criminal charges."
"The bankers who have advanced loans against the stock in trade can lodge police complaints. The position of the jeweller here is of a trustee and he cannot distribute gold to anyone as per his whims and fancies," explained Advocate Vinod Sampat, a resident of Ghatkopar East.
Sampat added, "I would advise people to be very cautious while dealing with their hard-earned money. There have been incidents where jewellers made away with people's jewellery."
"People are sometimes reluctant to complain as the nature of jewellery might not be disclosed or the bill might be unavailable. In fact, at the time of filing the FIR, a cash memo is not needed. That comes only at the time of submitting evidence," said Sampat.
"However, in my opinion, police officers, with a view to reducing their workload ask complainants to submit a copy of the cash memo at the time of filing the FIR. This discourages people from registering complaints," he concluded.
Rajvardhan Singh, Joint Commissioner of Police (EOW), said, "We are going through the statements to understand the case. No arrests have been made yet."
Employees with struggles of their own
Rasiklal Sankalchand Jewellers staff with BJP leader Kirit Somaiya
Accompanied with BJP leader Kirit Somaiya, employees of Rasiklal jewellers submitted a letter to the Labour Commissioner, saying, "We (the) staff of Rasiklala Sankalchand Jewellers Private Ltd have not received any salary since June '19. Even our PF has not been paid since June 2019. Two years' paid leaves, current year's bonus and differences of increment in salary have not been paid. We have been getting false promises by the owner that in a day or two, our dues will be settled. It has been four months now and still, they have not provided any solution." The employees also explained how they have found it difficult to pay for things such as school fees, house rent, medical expenses, etc.
What Labour Commissioner has to say
Speaking to mid-day, Labour Commissioner Mahendra Kalyankar said that he has issued a notice to the employer on the basis of the complaint received. "The matter is being handled by the Deputy Labour Commissioner, in whose jurisdiction the concerned establishment falls. The employer has violated Rule 5 of the Minimum Wages Act, has not paid salary to staff since June 2019 and violated the rule which says employers with less than 1,000 employees must pay salaries by the seventh of every month." When asked what action can be taken against the employer, Kalyankar said, "In the interest of the employees, we try to resolve the issues amicably. If dues are not cleared, legal proceedings can be initiated in the Labour Court against the employer."
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