Peerless pays up Rs 1,514 crore of investors’ money under govt pressure

Peerless, after being established in 1932, moved its base to Kolkata in 1935 and saw a rapid increase in its business; its record in RoI has been chequered

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New Delhi: The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) on Tuesday said it has recovered depositors’ money worth Rs 1,514 crore from the Peerless General Finance and Investment Company, which was pending with the entity for the last 15 years according to an official release, the deposits have now been transferred to the Investor Education and Protection Fund (IEPF).

“In a major success, the IEPF Authority has been able to enforce Peerless General Finance and Investment Company Ltd to transfer deposits worth about Rs 1,514 crore to IEPF. This depositors’ money was pending with the company for the last 15 years,” the corporate affairs ministry said in a release on Tuesday.

“The depositors’ money was pending with the company for the last 15 years. The matter came to the notice of the Authority recently and within a short time due to the proactive action of the Authority the said sum has now been transferred to IEPF,” an official statement said.

“This amount was taken by the company by issuing about 1.49 crore deposit certificates and include more than a crore individual investors.

“The IEPF received a routine communication regarding the investor dues to Peerless General Finance from the RBI. We then initiated investigation and recovery proceedings into this case in December 2018 and has recovered the entire principal amount of the investors within three months,” an IEPF official told a business news website.

The money was recovered by the Investor Education and Protection Fund (IEPF) Authority, which is part of the MCA and has been set up for the promotion of investor awareness and protection of the interest of investors.

According to the press release, the company had garnered the amount by about 1.49 crore deposit certificates.

The data submitted by the company showed that 50.77% of the total amount was taken in the form of deposit certificates of the value of Rs 2,000 or less.

The Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority has also issued more than 4,000 notices to companies seeking information for alleged lapses.

The Peerless General Finance and Investment Company has had a chequered record in honouring investments for nearly five decades. The company was founded in Narayanganj, Bangladesh by Radhyashyam Roy in 1932. Soon after, he was joined by his friend KK Chatterjee.

They started a provident fund scheme with an investment of Rs 20,000. The company shifted base to Calcutta (now Kolkata) in 1935, which led to a rapid increase in its fortunes. But for small investors of the middle class, recovery of the claims post-maturity has been an issue for long.

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