HYDERABAD: The State Bank of India and the Income Tax department have urged the Hyderabad High Court to implead them as one of the respondent in the case filed against Agri Gold Farms Estates India Private Limited.
A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Dilip B Bhosale and Justice S V Bhatt was dealing with a PIL case filed by the Telangana Agri Gold Customers and Agents Welfare Association, represented by its president A Ramesh Babu of the city, seeking a direction to handover the case to CBI or ED.
Following the court direction, the company management earlier filed an affidavit assuring that it is ready to refund all the deposits it collected from the public by selling away the properties of the company. It submitted that the company had 1412.87 acres in Krishna, Guntur, Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Nellore in Andhra Pradesh and Mahbubnagar district in Telangana and Bidadi and Hubli in Karnataka and the worth of properties would be around Rs 7016.57 crore. The company is facing charges of collecting deposits from the public in an unlawful manner to an extent of Rs 6,700 crore. The state government had earlier attached several movable and immovable properties of the company.
The SBI’s stressed assets management branch of the city, in its implead petition, submitted that the companies Agri Gold Foods and Farm Products Limited, Agri Gold Organics Private Limited and Agri Gold Projects Limited which are the group companies of Agri Gold Farms Estates India Private Limited have availed loan facilities from the SBI by depositing title deeds of the schedule properties as security for the loan.
After the said companies had failed to repay the loans, the bank initiated recovery proceedings under the Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002. Demand notices were issued to the three companies for payment of debts of Rs 23.45 crore, Rs 28.03 crore and Rs 14.23 crore, respectively.
Referring to the GO 23 dated Feb 20, 2015 issued by the AP government for attachment of the properties of various group companies of Agri Gold Farms Limited, the bank pointed out that the GO was issued even without verifying the full facts of mortgages made in favour of the bank. Steps have been taken for release of the attachment of mortgaged properties, it added.
With regard to implead petition of IT department, it submitted that the assessment proceedings under the provisions of the Income Tax Act in respect of Agri Gold Farms Limited for the assessment year 2009-10 to 2014-15 are pending and there is every likelihood of huge demands arising in the case. Apprehending that the company may thwart the ultimate collection of the demand, properties of the company were attached under Section 281B of the Act to protect the interests of the revenue, it added. The PIL matter is expected to come up for hearing next week.