The Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the director, Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) of the company affairs department, to look into the complaints of various dealers against a Delhi-based gas bottling firm.
Prachi Gas Bottling Company had started gas distribution work in 2011-12 with the name Bharti Gas in the region and had enrolled hundreds of dealers in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. However, after July 2012, the supply of cylinders became erratic prompting customers to approach dealers, who had sold these gas connections, the petitioners submitted.
They said the dealers had invested at least Rs 30 lakh to get the dealership and sold connections in their respective areas.
They submitted that in Punjab alone, 150-odd dealers had been defrauded who had further sold thousands of connections. The petitioners submitted that the said company defrauded dealers and general customers amounting to Rs 1200 crore.
The petition was filed by various dealers of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh saying that after enrolling numerous dealers in 2011, Prachi Gas Company issued gas connections to thousands of customers all over India, including this region, and collected crores of rupees.
However, within about two years, the company started vanishing by stopping the supply of gas after duping the dealers and customers.
The petitioners had also submitted that a number of FIRs had been lodged by dealers/customers against the company. They had submitted that in July 2014, they had approached the SFIO seeking investigations of the said company's 'deeds' under Section 211 of the Companies Act, 2013, but it did not act.
The high court while directing the SFIO to look into the representation of the dealers and other customers has given it six weeks to take a decision.