2 plantation firm officials cheat investors, sent to jail

Two managing directors of a private plantation firm have been sentenced to four months in jail by a city court for illegally taking money from “unorganised and unwary investors”.

Additional sessions judge Pawan Kumar Jain convicted MDs Sunil Kumar Asthana and Pawan Kumar Verma of Flawless Plantations Ltd on a complaint by the Securities and Exchange Board of India.

While convicting the duo for illegally raising fund to the tune of Rs 17.25 lakh, the court also imposed a fine of Rs 2 lakh each on them.

“Unorganised and unwary investors had put in their hard-earned money in the schemes of the company of the accused with a hope that they would get handsome returns. But instead of earning on their investments, they even failed to get their principal amount,” said the judge.

“The company had mobilised funds to the tune of Rs 17.25 lakh in violation of provisions of the SEBI Act. During trial, the convicts failed to produce any evidence to show that the firm had refunded the amount to investors,” said the judge.

Seeking leniency, their counsel asked the court to impose a token fine on them as they had no criminal history. But the court rejected the plea, saying, “It is not a fit case where convicts can be released by imposing a token fine. In my opinion, convicts deserve some substantial punishment, besides the fine.”

SEBI had filed a complaint against the duo on December 15, 2003, alleging that they had collected money from people by floating a ‘collective investment scheme’ in 1997-98 without obtaining a registration certificate for it.

Bank to pay Rs 2.97 lakh

The state consumer commission has dismissed a plea by Standard Chartered bank against a district forum’s order to it to pay Rs 2.97 lakh to a loan customer.

The bank had seized her car for not paying Rs 30,000 and had sold it, despite subsequent payment of all dues by city resident Sunita Verma.

The bank sold the Maruti Omni van after Verma refused to take it back as some crucial parts had allegedly been removed, rendering the vehicle unusable.

The state consumer commission observed that Verma’s willingness to pay the remaining loan amount of Rs 30,000 showed that she was keen to take back her vehicle.

But there must have been some compelling reasons for her not to do so, the commission said.

“It appears that Verma’s statement that the vehicle was not in a condition for taking repossession needs to be accepted,” said the commission.

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