Pune-based real estate developer DS Kulkarni (DSK), battling allegations of financial irregularities, on November 21, 2017, said that the firm was ‘confident’ of paying the returns to fixed deposit holders, who have accused it of default.
Kulkarni, the founder chairman of the DSK Group, told reporters that a detailed plan of repayment, will be submitted before the Bombay High Court on November 23, 2017. Kulkarni and his wife Hemanti, one of the directors in the privately held company, were given interim anticipatory bail by the high court, earlier in November.
Addressing a press conference, Kulkarni said the total assets of the firm stood at Rs 9,000 crores, whereas the dues including the fixed deposit (FD) returns were ‘merely’ Rs 1,500 crores.
“The firm is in the business for at least 50 years. We are running the FD schemes for the last 36 years and are paying returns to our investors on time. We are confident of paying the returns. We will submit a detailed report of repayment in the court on Thursday (November 23),” he said, adding that the firm has already started repaying the FD holders.
Flanked by his wife and son Shirish at the press conference, Kulkarni said the DSK Group was in sound position, as its foundation was based on ‘strong ethics and values’ and expressed confidence that the firm would tide over the temporary financial crisis. He revealed that a foreign investor had shown willingness to form a joint venture with the firm, in the ambitious DSK Dream City Project, worth Rs 13,000 crores.
On the financial crisis that has afflicted his firm, Kulkarni said a multitude of factors were responsible for this. “I met with an accident last year. Besides, the entire real estate sector was in trouble and in between, demonetisation was announced. All these factors impacted the business,” he said.
He said demonetisation was a good decision and its positive impact on market and the economy, would be seen in the next two years. Kulkarni clarified that there was no direct link between demonetisation and the financial crisis of his company.
A case was registered against Kulkarni and his wife on October 28, 2017, on a complaint lodged by 65-year-old Jitendra Mulekar, who alleged that he could not get back his investment from the real estate group. More complaints were also filed subsequently. According to some complainants, there are around 8,000 depositors, who have invested with DS Kulkarni Group’s FD scheme, but they neither received their capital nor the interest from the developer.
Following the complaints, the Pune police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) conducted searches at DSK’s offices and residence on November 2, 2017, in the city. According to police, around 1,500 complaints were lodged against the DSK Group. The EOW later asked various banks to freeze as many as 70 accounts of the firm. For the past several months, all these investors, largely pensioners, have been queueing up at the DSK’s office, seeking refund.