Here’s good news for investors of Golden Forest India Limited, a non-banking finance company (NBFC), which went bust in 2000.
A three-member committee, which was constituted in 2004 following a directive from the Supreme Court, in its recently released status report, has said that they had been able to realise Rs 567.50 crore through sale of four properties owned by the NBFC in Punjab and Haryana.
The development stands to benefit 50,000 people in Ranchi and 65,000 in Jamshedpur who had invested their hard-earned money in various schemes introduced by Golden Forest.
Another 35 lakh and more in places like Dhanbad, Bokaro and Chas will also receive a part of this golden windfall
The panel, which was headed by retired Delhi High Court Chief Justice R.N. Aggarwal, was constituted to scrutinise the claims received from investors and creditors and funds collected from sale of properties of the Golden Forests Group of Companies.
Its status report says that on the basis of funds available at present, the committee has recommended settlement of claims of 11 lakh small investors (among the total 15 lakh across the country) by paying them their principal amount and a one-time interest at 25 per cent, which translates to around Rs 55 crore.
The total amount required for settling the claims of these small investors works out to around Rs 275 crore. Another Rs 1.5 crore may be incurred as expenses in case cheques are sent by ordinary post.
Each of the 11 lakh small investors have deposited up to Rs 5,000 in Golden Forest India Limited and Golden Project Limited, both part of Golden Forest Group . The committee has included the claims received after the cut off date of August 10, 2006. The total principal amount invested by these 11 lakh people is around Rs 220 core. Jamshedpur alone invested Rs 90 crore.
Sudip Mukherjee, the general secretary of Golden Forest National Investors Forum, which is a party to the case, expressed happiness over the development. “The Supreme Court had offered a lifeline to investors by setting up the committee. The status report has come as a ray of hope for investors here. The investors are optimistic of getting back their money,” said Mukherjee.
According to the senior functionary, money is still to be realised by selling 15 more properties owned by the NBFC. “The committee should realise money by selling those properties too,” he said, adding that every Sunday investors in Jamshedpur would meet at Jubilee Park to review progress.
The NBFC, headquartered in Chandigarh, stopped operations in 2000 and all its marketing and branch offices have remained closed since then.