A group of depositors who invested in a Chennai-based online commodity trading firm picketed the office of the SP here on Sunday and submitted petitions alleging that the firm had not returned interest for their deposits.
Tycoons Empire International Ltd, which had been functioning at Thiruvanmiyur in Chennai, was in the news recently after the Kerala Police arrested six of its seven directors following complaints from depositors. The case was handed over to the Chennai police as the firm was operating in the city.
Vadivelu, who led the depositors, said some agents of the firm had introduced it nearly three years ago claiming that it was approved by the Union Ministry of Company Affairs. Initially, the company collected Rs 6,000 as deposit before progressively hiking the amount to Rs 12,000, Rs 30,000 and Rs 55,000. It assured a monthly interest of eight per cent to all depositors and a one-time payment of a month’s interest to anyone who introduced a new depositor. All transactions were made through bank accounts by agents who collected photocopies of ration and PAN cards and bank details with the deposit being remitted through RTGS in the firm’s account.
Initially, the company made the interest payments regularly. Once more depositors were added, it started collecting Rs 1.10 lakh at the same interest rate. However, it failed to give the interest for nearly one and a half years. Furthermore, the company’s phones were not working and its office was locked. Depositors who did not get interest contacted the company’s main agent, Selvaraj, who had formed an association of depositors collecting Rs 100 as enrolment fee. But, he did not help them and reportedly opened his own firm at Tiruchy.
In Veerappanchathram in Erode alone, around 10 people deposited more than Rs 25 lakh. Taking the southern states as a whole, the total deposits could be above Rs 100 crore, police said.