Zee Essel group backtracks on taking over tainted AgriGold

In a development that would further delay repayment of the amount deposited with AgriGold, the Zee Essel group which had assured the high  court here that it would take over the tainted company, has gone back on its word.

Essel group on Monday told the court that they will only be taking over the properties of the company but not its management. The High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad has directed the Andhra Pradesh government to file a counter within a week.

In September, Essel Group that owns Zee TV network had expressed an interest to take over Agri Gold group.

Group chairman Subhash Chandra and politician Amar Singh met Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu in Amaravati and expressed their willingness to take over the firm. The CID upon the advice of the state government then informed the same to the high  court bench dealing with the Agri Gold issue.

The court gave a month's time to the Essel group to study and come with an offer. The Essel group also wanted to meet the former heads of departments of Agri Gold, who are in jail to gather first-hand information on the company's status. Then the company deposited the required amount with the high court.

Andhra Pradesh then asked all the depositors to register themselves with "Protection of AP depositors" website to include their details in the list to be submitted to the high court.

However, the hopes of the depositors crashed with the Essel Group backtracking  at the last minute.

As per records available with depositors associations, AgriGold owes Rs 6,380 crore to over 32 lakh depositors spread across several states.

Of this, there are 9.07 lakh depositors who have deposited more than Rs 20,000 aggregating to Rs 4,473 crore and another 23 lakh depositors with less than Rs 20,000 summing up to Rs 1,900 crore.

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