Vikram Bhatt files police complaint against former partners Ajay Bishnoi and Amul Gabrani of Tecpro
Bishnoi and Gabrani, after taking full payment from T-Series and Reliance Entertainment for making films have neither paid the production team nor deposited tax deducted at source, alleges film director Vikram Bhatt
A police complaint filed by well-known film director Vikram Bhatt against the promoters of ASA Production seems set to expose a whole can of worms that could leads to Tecpro Systems Ltd, the listed company whose stock has seen a precipitous fall ever since it got listed October 2010.
Mr Bhatt has filed a complaint before the Mumbai Police Commissioner alleging financial fraud by Ajay Bishnoi and Amul Gabrani of Tecpro Systems, in a company called ASA Productions and Enterprises Pvt Ltd, on which he was a board member and creative director. He resigned from the company on 30 October 2013.
According to Mr Bhatt, ASA set up by Bishnoi and Gabrani, was contracted by T-Series and Reliance Entertainment to produce three films and one film respectively by the two companies. It appears that neither of them were formally the owners of ASA but were represented by family members. When ASA fell into bad times, Mr Bhatt says he got film industry majors, T-Series and Reliance Entertainment to finance four specific film projects to be produced by ASA. The money was paid to ASA, whose finances were handled by Ajay Bishnoi and his brother Anju Bishnoi.
Bhatt alleges that, "Anju and Ajay Bishnoi, who were handling the finance, took all the money from the partners, i.e. T-Series and Reliance Entertainment but did not make a sizeable payment to the technicians, vendors and talent of the said project and embezzled those funds. Having found out about this fraud I resigned from the company on 30th October 2013."
"Having goodwill and certain relationships with the said partners, T-Series and Reliance (Entertainment), I finished two of the four projects with my own personal funds, both these were with T-Series. As I write this letter, I am on the verge of finishing the last and final one with T-series," the Bollywood director, known for his horror films said.
He further says, "...there are scores of unpaid people including myself who are suffering due to this fraud. Mr Ajay and Anju Bishnoi have perpetrated and now the both of them are unavailable to these creditors. Not only are there unpaid parties but there are statutory liabilities that have not cleared by this company. They have deducted the TDS from the parties but in turn not paid the TDS amount to the government that then means that the parties do not have a TDS certificate. The same can be said for various Income Tax and Sales Tax issues”.
Bhatt further says he has also been deprived of share certificates for his holding in the company, as well as his provident fund.
What makes this interesting is that Bishnoi and Gabrani are the promoters of Tecpro Systems Limited, a materials handling company, which got listed in October 2010. The stock hit a high of Rs454.25 that month and has been on a continuous decline ever since. It was trading at Rs9.31 on the BSE at time of writing this piece, a fall of 98% from its high.
Techpro has been a big borrower from the banking system with an outstanding debt of a massive Rs6,000 crore plus. It began a Corporate Debt Restructuring (CDR) exercise in 2014.
Last month, State Bank of India (SBI) assigned all rights, title and interests in financial assistances granted by them to Tecpro Systems in favour of Edelweiss Assets Reconstruction Ltd. At one time the company had high profile investors such as London-based Indian businessman Raj Bagri, private equity firm Avigo Capital. Both exited at a loss in early 2014.
In February 2015, the BSE moved Tecpro Systems’ scrip to the restricted trading segment as part of its surveillance measures.
Our emails sent to top executives of Tecpro Systems on 29 April 2015 remained unanswered until writing this report. We will publish their view as and when we receive it.