20 yrs on, only a third of Big Bull’s dues collected
Two decades after the multi-crore securities scam broke, authorities have collected only one-third of kingpin, Harshad Mehta’s total liabilities.
Authorities have collected only Rs. 1,794.33 crore against the total liabilities of Rs. 5,610.04 crore. Liabilities include a total income tax liability of the family of Rs. 1,810.43 crore. Mehta’s dues amounted to Rs. 1,570.93 crore.
The figures have been included in the judgement of the special court formed at the Bombay High Court. Justice D.K. Deshmukh has directed the Custodian of Properties to sell Mehta’s and his family’s remaining property: eight spacious flats in Madhuli building on Worli sea front. This is the third time that the court has ordered the sale of the flats. Earlier orders date back to October 2003 and September 2008. Both the times, the Apex Court had remanded the matter back for a fresh hearing. The Custodian of Properties under the Special Court (Trial of Offences relating to Transactions in Securities) Act, 1992, had sought permission to sell the properties to clear the liabilities. The Mehta family had, however, opposed this contending they were neither members of the Harshad Mehta Group nor holding his benami properties. They added that the eight flats in Madhuli Building had no connection with Mehta’s “tainted money”.
Justice Deshmukh said the family had not raised this when other movable and immovable properties belonging to the Group were sold. The judge ordered the sale of the flats saying the liabilities of the family members was much more than the value of their assets.
The judge noted that there was a thick flow of funds from the Harshad Mehta Group of Companies to family members’ accounts between April 1990 and June 1992, when eight of the accounts were notified under the Special Courts Act, 1992.
“…Principal business of the joint family was to deal in shares and securities,” Justice Deshmukh said. “The properties have been purchased using funds from the same business, and therefore for clearing the liabilities arisen out of these transactions, the properties of all the members of the family will also have to be disposed of.”