Khosla Steel Private Limited at Adityapur on Monday. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
Disputed directors of an iron and steel unit has approached the Adityapur Small Industries Association (ASIA), seeking action against a local moneylender who, they claim, has grabbed their company by fraudulent means.
In his petition to the ASIA president on Monday, Pramod Khosla — one of the directors of Phase IV-based Khosla Steel Private Limited — said that Mantu Singh had usurped them of their rights on the pretext of giving a loan to revive the ailing unit.
In May 2011, Khosla Steel suffered a market slump and had to cease production work. A director of the company, Kishore Khosla, approached Singh for financial help. The latter agreed to give a multi-crore loan, but on the condition that he is appointed a director first.
“We made Mantu Singh an additional director on August 10, 2011, but he failed to provide the loan. So, at the annual general meeting on August 30 the same year, he was stripped of his post. However, in connivance with Neelam Khosla — widow of my brother Ashok Khosla — Mantu Singh filed a Form 32 that showed him as a promoter-director of the company,” Pramod Khosla’s petition said.
On September 2, 2011, Singh approached the company bosses again with a fresh proposal. He sought transfer of Pramod Khosla and his wife’s shares in his name for the loan.
“We agreed and took initiatives to get shares transferred. But, since he (Singh) failed to give any loan, no shares were finally transferred. In the meantime, he took control of the company with the help of his henchmen and tacit support of the local administration,” the petitioner alleged.
Pramod Khosla and the other directors were automatically removed from their posts once the Form 32 was accepted. Khosla Steel saw the entry of new directors — Amit Gupta and Naveen Singh, brother of Mantu Singh — in whose names shares were allotted too.
Currently, the “ deceived” directors are not able to enter the “goon-guarded” premises of Khosla Steel, which was set up in 1972 to manufacture iron angles and rods, while Singh and Co. are allegedly hiving off company assets.
“Though we have filed cases with the Company Law Board (a statutory body for settling disputes) and the local police against Mantu Singh, we expect ASIA to help too,” Pramod Khosla said. He added that despite a directive from the board for maintaining status quo in the company, Singh was liquidating assets.
When contacted, Singh refuted all allegations against him.
“It is true that a case is pending with the Company Law Board (CLB), but it has not restricted us from doing any transactions, including operating bank accounts of Khosla Steel. We are doing what the CLB has permitted us to do,” he said.
Singh further claimed that he had provided former directors of Khosla Steel necessary financial support and had never cheated them.
Incidentally, Khosla Steel is the same industrial unit where a central excise team had conducted a raid on Friday evening. During the raid one of its present directors, Gupta, jumped off the balcony of his office and sustained injuries. A resident of Circuit House Area in Bistupur, he is under treatment at Tata Main Hospital.