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Harassed by ‘frivolous’ criticism, Azim Premji and wife move SC

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NEW DELHI: Software program mogul and philanthropist Azim Hasham Premji and his wife Yaseem have moved the Supreme Court docket searching for quashing of summons issued to them by a Bengaluru courtroom in “frivolous prison complaints” in opposition to merger of three corporations — Vidya, Regal and Napean — with Hasham Funding and Buying and selling Firm, all owned by the Premji group.

Premji and his wife, by means of advocate Mahesh Agrawal, mentioned the three corporations, which have been fashioned in 1974 and whose shareholdings have been interlinked in 1980 that any of the 2 owned the third one, have been merged with Hasham in 2015 after the RBI gave in-principle approval adopted by the Karnataka Excessive Court docket’s inexperienced sign to the merger scheme.

They suspected that the trigger behind the criticism was a partnership gone awry with Subhiksha’s R Subramanian. A Premji group agency needed to file prison complaints in opposition to a Subramanian-owned firm for bouncing of cheques value crores of rupees in 2013, which continues to be pending. Agrawal claimed the prison complaints filed by NGO ‘India Awake Transparency’ was masterminded by Subramanian almost three years after the merger occurred, full data of which was given to SEBI, inventory exchanges and the ministry of firm affairs in 2015.

What shocked the Premjis was the trial courtroom’s determination to summon them with out even conducting a preliminary inquiry into the veracity of the NGO’s complaints and the Karnataka HC refusing to entertain their plea in opposition to going through trial in a “motivated case” aimed toward disrupting the Wipro-led software program trade and Azim Premji Belief’s philanthropic actions.

The petitioners informed the SC that on the identical traces of the prison complaints earlier than the Bengaluru trial courtroom, petitions have been filed earlier than the Delhi Excessive Court docket and NCLAT 4 instances between February 2018 and September 2019. Every of them have been dismissed by the HC and the appellate tribunal whereas cumulatively imposing Rs four lakh in prices on those that had filed the petitions in opposition to merger of the businesses. The husband-wife duo firmly consider that these 4 petitions too have been filed with Subramanian’s collusion.

On the philanthropy entrance, the Premjis informed the SC that since 2010, when the belief was fashioned, that they had donated greater than Rs 1,50,000 crore for numerous charitable work. “In instances of the Covid-19 pandemic, there may be an total dedication of Rs 1,125 crore in the direction of the trigger. The Premjis have been finishing up numerous aid actions throughout the nation, supplementing and aiding the federal government in Covid-related aid work. The mischievous problem by the NGO to the amalgamation is disrupting not solely the Premjis but additionally the flexibility of their group to contribute to society by means of charity,” the petition mentioned.

The Premjis have challenged the Karnataka HC’s Could 15 determination refusing to quash the prison complaints filed by the NGO earlier than a Bengaluru courtroom. “The scheme of amalgamation sanctioned by the Karnataka HC was intentionally suppressed by the NGO earlier than the trial courtroom and the HC, because the scheme gave full particulars of function, monetary construction, shareholding of the transferor and transferee corporations, the accounting remedy and the phrases on which the amalgamation of corporations occurred, which if delivered to the discover of the courts under, would have proven that not even a prima facie case was made out beneath the complaints,” they mentioned.

“After nearly three years, the NGO filed malafide prison complaints on December 7, 2017, alleging that the three corporations (Vidya, Regal and Napean) that have been amalgamated with Hasham Funding didn’t belong to the Azim Premji group. The mischievous declare of the NGO was that the businesses belonged to ‘no one’ and subsequently belonged to the federal government and couldn’t have been merged with Hasham Funding, an Azim Premji group firm. By suppressing the amalgamation scheme whereas submitting the criticism, the NGO sought to interpret the targets of the scheme as being prison in nature. The complainant misled the courtroom to take cognisance,” the petitioners mentioned.

“The NGO is getting used by R Subramanian as a company facade to file frivolous litigations in opposition to Premji and his associates. Subramanian is a promoter of an organization named Subhiksha. He falsely induced Zash Funding and Buying and selling Firm, one other Azim Premji group firm, to make an funding of Rs 230 crore to amass 10% stake in his firm, Subhiksha. Hasham Funding had additionally been fraudulently induced to increase loans to Subhiksha and the latter had issued cheques as safety for a similar. Subramanian subsequently defaulted on compensation of the mortgage, and dishonoured cheques to the tune of Rs 31.32 crore, as a consequence of which Hasham Funding was constrained to file a case in opposition to him beneath Part 138 of the Negotiable Devices Act, which continues to be pending and on the stage of recording of proof of witnesses,” the petitioners mentioned.

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