CHENNAI: The Madras High Court confirmed the lower court orders stating that canvassers too were responsible for the fraud committed by a chit fund firm in which they were employed. The High Court refused to discharge the branch manager of a financial firm in Coimbatore from a case registered for offences under the TN Protection of Interest of Depositors (in Financial Establishments) Act.
Justice M Venugopal confirmed the order dated May 28, 2015 issued by the Special Court formed under the TNPID Act in Coimbatore, while dismissing a revision petition from SP Arunkumar, the firm’s branch manager in Pollachi.
The charge against the firm was that it had defaulted in paying `7.15 crore to 310 depositors in 2012. Arunkumar was the fourth accused in the case and had moved the Special Court to discharge him. The court rejected his prayer in May 2015. Hence, the present revision petition.
The petitioner contended he was not in charge of the firm’s day-to-day administration as he only had to collect the deposits and hand over sums to depositors on the management’s instructions. He was a paid servant and hence he should not be blamed for any criminal offence by the management. The managers of other branches of the firm were not included in the case, he had said.
Rejecting the submissions, Justice Venugopal said there was enough material to implicate him (notwithstanding the fact that his name was not in the FIR). He had failed to account for the whereabouts of the collected money, despite maintaining the accounts in his own handwriting.
“This court comes to an irresistable and inescapable conclusion that there are enough materials in the form of records (oral and documentary) to highlight the role played by the petitioner,” the judge said, adding that the lower court order did not suffer from any material irregularity or patent legal infirmity in the eye of law.
Only a paid staff
The petitioner contention that he was not in charge of the firm’s activities and was only a paid staff did not go down well with the judges