Duped investors close ranks to get their money back

RISHI MAJUMDER

Photographer: Rana Chakraborty

Money's worth... Investors' meeting

Around 5,500 duped investors, mainly from Maharashtra, have been struggling since 1997 to get back their money (an average of Rs 1 lakh each) they had invested in Maxworth Orchard Ltd, which had launched a landfarming scheme in 1993.
Around 125 members of the Maxworth Orchard Investors’ Welfare Association (MOIWA) — an investors’ rights association formed in 1997 — recently held a meeting at Bandra to mobilise investors to come together and reclaim their money.
“The agreement with the company said the lands would be transferred in the investors’ names,” C D Sheshadri, who is the vice-chairman of MOIWA, said.
The agreement said the returns from the land would start accruing to the investors from the fourth year onwards and continue for 15 years, after which the investor would have the option of taking over the land himself.
“And so, the cost of maintenance for these 15 years was taken from each investor,” Sheshadri said, adding that the amount they paid was around nine times the value of the land itself.

In 1997, R Subramaniam, the then chairman of Maxworth, who now heads Sterling Resorts Limited, told the investors that the company had no money to pay returns or their initial investment. Also, most of the investors did not get sale deeds for the plots.
“However, the company never formally declared bankruptcy,” Sheshadri said.
This is when alarmed investors decided to form an association. In 1997 alone, over 550 FIRs were filed by them with the Economic Offences Cell of Mumbai police.
When the troubles started mounting for Maxworth, Subramaniam and the company’s directors moved the Madras High Court, which in 2002 appointed an administrator to assess their respective claims.
In November 2006, the administrator called a meeting of the investors in Chennai, where a majority favoured a proposal under which the company would sell the land and pay them on a pro rata basis.

But Sheshadri contests the claim saying most of the investors were not even informed about the scheduled meeting which was advertised through a small notice in one newspaper only. He says not even five per cent of the investors were aware of the meeting.
Investors also say that if the company is allowed to sell the land, they would not get their due share as no auction details were discussed at the Chennai meeting.
Already, 1300 investors have sent their objections to the proposal, the deadline for which was the first week of April, 2007.
Now, MOIWA is trying to get together all the 5,500 investors in the Western Zone to be able to show that they together own more than 50 per cent of the land in each project, a pre-requisite laid down by the administrator for them to be able to claim the ownership of the plots.
Despite repeated attempts, Subramaniam was not available for comment.
“Subramaniam is still the main boss at the Maxworth,” Sheshadri claims a Maxworth director told him.

This article first appeared in Mumbai Mirror, Times Of India: http://alturl.com/u5ye

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13 comments

  1. raji thomas · January 5, 2011

    I have also invested Maxworth Orchards Ltd. for 0.5 acers land while going through the site I came to know about the forum. Would be greatful if you can give more details to be a part of the association.

    Await your reply as soon as possible. My mobile No. is 9167232377.

    • rishimajumder · October 25, 2011

      So sorry for not replying for so long. Do you still need this info? If so let me know. Did this story long ago and don’t know what the status vis-a-vis this association is now… but will try my best and get ur info…

  2. v.g lokeshwar · April 9, 2011

    I am also an investor in Maxworth orchards–kolad and mahagaon.

    I have invested Rs 2 lacks. Recently I had phone calls. Some people want to buy our land at good price,, because there is huge chunk of land.

    If we get clearance from court ,, we can sell our land and make a profit !

    If others are interested, e-mail me.

    THANKS,

    • rishimajumder · October 25, 2011

      Hope this works out…

  3. Leelamma Jose · August 24, 2011

    My name is Mrs,Leelamma Jose,I am from Pune,
    Thanks to the assosiation and their work,the information you are giving time to time.
    Regards,
    Leela

    • rishimajumder · October 25, 2011

      Thanks Leela. I hope it gets resolved – and they get some of their money back at least. Do keep me posted here.

    • rishimajumder · October 25, 2011

      Thanks Leelamma.

      • vijaykumar · October 25, 2011

        Hi
        Please give latest report about :–
        1]Madras high court case progress
        2]Mumbai association status.
        thanks,,

  4. ramaswamy · November 24, 2011

    Interested in knowing where do we, the investors stand, now in re to the recovery.
    I am a retired person and am in need now.

  5. Nishrin Shabbir Disawala · December 10, 2011

    My name is Nishrin Shabbir Disawala. I had invested in 0.25 acre in Maxworth Orchards. If anyone can give me the details & telephone no. of the association I would be thankful.
    Thanks,
    Nishrin

  6. Nitin · March 1, 2012

    I am Nitin owning 0.25 acres at Kadthal near Hyderabad. I have just gone through your site and come to know of it. Please inform if you know of any group working on this site.
    Regards,
    Nitin

  7. shayam sunder tayal · May 16, 2012

    i am shyam sunder tayal from gwalior, m.p. i have send our all documents to your company dated on 20/08/2010 by registered post but till date no any response your side so i am not satisfy with you and i am filing case in court. my id and amount detail gevin blow 1. ind-00109-max-saoner-iii, 69000/-
    2. nid-067005-peepal kheda plot no. c-209,c-230 berasia bhopal, 84700/-
    3. nid-70010-sernara kalan margo, berasia bhopal, 57000/-
    my mobile no. 09827998118, 09200671844

  8. Ramakrishnan · November 11, 2012

    Hello. I invested in a land too from Maxworth and have the sale deed. It is registered but I dont know if it is genuine. How can I afford to trust Maxworth after they have done this? My understanding is that the top management fled to other cities fearing backlash/insult/punishment. Can you let me know if I can sell the land? I have tried to but it is in the middle of nowhere and cant find buyers. Will appreciate a genuine reply. thank you

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