Court gives clean chit to Kumudam publisher
No prima facie case has been made out against P Varadharajan, publisher of Kumudam Publications Private Limited, a trial court has concluded, accepting the closure report of the police into the allegations of cheating and misappropriation of funds to the tune of `25 crore.
“There is no necessity to interfere with the final report filed by the Investigating Officer (IO),’’ Chief Metropolitan Magistrate M Gopalan said in his order and dismissed Dr A Jawahar Palaniappan’s petition.
A major shareholder and Director of Kumudam Publications, Jawahar Palaniappan, had filed the petition against the final report filed by the IO on his complaint levelling various allegations, including forgery and misappropriation of funds by Varadharajan.
The CMM observed that no documentary evidence was produced by Jawahar to establish the case of cheating, criminal breach of trust, misappropriation of funds and falsification of accounts against Varadharajan.
In his petition, Jawahar had said that he was running a weekly founded by SAP Annamalai in 1947 and invested their family properties for the same. One P V Parthasarathy worked as manager with the petitioner’s father and later was promoted as publisher of the weekly. After Parthasarathy’s demise, Jawahar considered his son P Varadharajan’s (PV) request and allotted some shares to his family members. But PV failed to pay any consideration for the value of the shares, till date.
Later, Jawahar gave a chance to PV to administer Kumudam Publications in his absence and PV took over all the responsibilities. However, during the course of administration, PV committed forgery and misappropriation of funds amounting to `25 crore, the petitioner alleged.
Jawahar lodged a complaint with the City Police Commissioner against PV. A case for various offences, including cheating, under the IPC was registered in 2010 and the Police Inspector attached to the Central Crime Branch-I in Egmore conducted the investigation. PV was arrested and later released on bail.
In his present petition, Jawahar contended that the IO had not conducted any probe on the complaint for a long time. The IO made some enquiry with the petitioner and his family members in 2011 and abruptly closed the complaint as a ‘mistake of fact’. The investigation was not conducted in a proper manner, the petitioner alleged and prayed the court to reject the IO’s final report.
Rejecting Jawahar’s submissions, the CMM observed that there was no acceptable evidence or document to establish a prima facie case of cheating and misappropriation of funds to the tune of `25 crore, as alleged by the petitioner against PV. Since Kumudam Publications was a company constituted and administered by a Board, established by Company Law, the contention of the prosecution that this issue could be agitated under the Company Act before the appropriate forum was acceptable, the CMM said.
The expert opinion was very clear that there was no insertion or addition in the accounts and that it was genuine. The resolution of the Board was also clear and not against PV. The IO had correctly conducted the investigation and decided to close the file on merits.
“Jawahar moved to United States as a permanent resident and was holding shares in the publication. Though there are regulations under ‘Foreign Exchange Rules’ to invest in the the media, Jawahar reportedly flouted those norms. In this regard, Enforcement Directorate had taken cognisance of the matter and had sent show-cause notices to Jawahar. Action on this deviation is still pending,” according to a source from the publication.