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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

High court widens probe into Tower chit fund scam

Deepak Prahladka , Hindustan Times  Kolkata, November 26, 2013
First Published: 09:51 IST(26/11/2013) | Last Updated: 09:58 IST(26/11/2013)

The high court on Monday widened the probe against Tower Infotech Limited (TIL) for repayment of money to its depositors in several states.

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Justice Sanjib Banerjee agreed to widen the probe after the court appointed advocates SN Mookherjee and Amrita Pandey told the court that deposits were obtained by TIL in various forms from other states including Assam, the northeast, Odisha, Chhatisgarh and Uttar Pradesh.

“In such circumstances, it is necessary that advertisements are issued in several sets of newspapers widely circulated in the areas from where de posits have been obtained by TIL. Further, it would be meaningless to ask the depositors to travel to Kolkata to substantiate their claims,” Mookherjee said.

The judge then directed that the details of depositors, together with photocopies of all the documents in support of their claims, may be submitted to government officials functioning at the sub-divisional level so that more depositors are encouraged to make claims.

“As a first step in such regard, the chief secretaries of Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkh and, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland should be forwarded copies of this order for the administrations in such states to be represented when the matter appears after two weeks and inform whether logistic support can be provided by the state administration in each case,” the judge said.

TIL had obtained deposits of about Rs150 crore in various forms including by way of debentures, preference shares and product instalment schemes.

TIL claimed that at least one innovative product - solar bike - was launched by it and marketed. However, TIL could not explain what a solar bike is or how it operates.

TIL also admitted that it was not in a position to produce the exhaustive list of depositors along with the amounts deposited by them in any of the several forms.

“Several excuses have been proffered by TIL, but they are only excuses and should not impress any person, particularly in the light of deposits having been obtained without complying with the mandatory provisions of law and, possibly, on the basis of false representations,” the judge said.

Accepting Sebi’s plea, the judg e directed TIL’s head Ramendra Chatterjee to disclose the details of properties by affidavit and deposit all title deeds with Sebi by December 6.

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