In your interest.
Online Personal Finance Magazine
No beating about the bush.
The once popular art fund has failed to live up to its promise to repay investors. Chief advisor Neville Tuli assures again that payments will be made despite the delay
Osian's creditors may have to wait, says Neville Tuli, chief advisor of Osian's Art Fund. His response was in answer to an investor's queries about the delay in funds being transferred to investors' bank accounts. Mr Tuli has also indicated that the date for 'total redemption' that was initially set as end-June, will be deferred.
"We are trying our best to adhere to the deadline and will be able to give you a more precise update by Friday, 24 June 2011, but a delay of about seven to ten days will probably occur in some cases," Mr Tuli said. Most payments will be in the form of demand drafts.
When Moneylife approached Mr Tuli with the case of an analyst whose mother had invested Rs10 lakh in Osian's Art Fund, he promised that the first instalment would be disbursed on 4th June, but it did not happen. "We have checked with our bank and no transfer has come through from Osian's. NEFT transfers usually come through the same day. Could you let us know when we can expect the first instalment?" the investor had asked Osian's chief advisor.
Mr Tuli's response was: "All NEFT (national electronic funds transfer) transfers started on Monday, 6th June, and will close by Thursday, 9th June 2011. The investor's NEFT was completed this morning (Tuesday)," Mr Tuli said.
Earlier, Osian's chief advisor had said that all unit-holders would be paid in three instalments in June which would account for 85% of their capital. For those who were expecting payments via NEFT, and whose account/branch details differed from that in Osian's records, there would be a delay of four to five days. Updates about the status of the total redemption target would be available on 24th June.
However, Mr Tuli's assurances have failed to convince other investors who are yet to receive their payments and they are now planning to organise themselves into a group and take stringent action.
"Can the investors say if they have received their investment + return (as indicated at closure) between 17th May and 29th May as was last promised by Mr Tuli? If not, a few investors have suggested a sit-in protest outside Osian's office, to get the attention of the local press and the police," an investor said.
The proposal is supported by Rajiv Jain, whose company had supplied Osian's with paintings for auctions, but it has not received payments even after the paintings were sold. "The auditors of Osian's have sent us a letter acknowledging that they owe us this money. It will be a great help if our company can join a common platform so that we can retrieve our hard-earned money," Mr Jain said.
The tide of anger is unlikely to subside if Mr Tuli delays the return of funds any further.
RTI activist exposes exaggerated claims by HUL that its water purifier kills one crore viruses per litre of water
"Ek litre pani mein ek crore virus marta hai", or one crore virus die in one litre of water. That's the claim by the water purifier maker Pureit, in a television commercial. The company tries to substantiate this claim with test results from the Pune-based National Institute of Virology (NIV). However, an RTI query has found Pureit's claim to be false.
According to a reply from NIV to an RTI application, the test was conducted on a sample of water of 0.67x105 Hepatitis E virus particles per litre, and not one crore virus as the sample size claimed. Therefore, the claim that one crore virus are killed, is not backed up. A copy of the test report and the RTI reply is available is with Moneylife.
NIV, which conducts comprehensive research on human viruses of public health concern, tested eight domestic water purifiers using 0.67x105 Hepatitis E virus particles per litre of water.
None of the water purifiers were named, but they were labelled as units, namely Unit I to VIII. The report revealed that only two water purifiers, that is Unit VII and Unit VIII passed the test.
Mumbai-based RTI activist Dr AR Shenoy evoked the RTI Act to seek details of the study by NIV. According to the reply, Unit VIII was the Pureit model manufactured by Hindustan Unilever (HUL). Mr Shenoy had asked whether any one of the brands was successful in removing/killing one crore viruses from one litre of water. The reply stated clearly that none of the water purifier brands tested had achieved this.
The report does not mention the names of any of the other water purifiers tested, apart from Pureit, which it says, removes 99.9% of virus particles.
Mr Shenoy says, "The test was conducted using 0.67x105 Hepatitis E virus particles per litre of water, which is less than one million virus particles. Pureit passed the test of removing/killing less than one million virus particles, as that was the sample size. The study did not take one crore as sample size, so this is a blatant lie and a claim made by the company that is misleading."
He said, "Pureit of Hindustan Unilever (HUL) has taken the liberty of twisting and misrepresenting the NIV report to its advantage. There is also a deliberate attempt on the part of NIV to please HUL, as the report does not mention the names of the other seven water purifiers, while it has no hesitation in mentioning Unit VIII as Pureit"
Dr Shenoy also pointed out that "Pureit has markets in Indonesia and Mexico, but, in these countries they don't make such tall claims of killing one crore viruses per litre, probably for fear of repercussions from the governments there."
In a reply to a query by Moneylife, HUL said the claim in the advertisement was based on the US EPA Log 4 standard for virus removal. Log 4 removal of virus from one millilitre of water would translate to one crore of virus in one litre of water. These claims are made based on strong scientific evidence.
Delhi High Court had rebuked the CVC for harassing MK Tyagi, who exposed the drain on the public exchequer. But the Court order has not been implemented as yet
The Whistleblower's Bill is under the consideration of Parliament, to protect and reward those who expose corruption. But over the years, the government has shown little concern towards those who have sounded the alarm. Satyendra Dubey and Amit Jethwa became big names only after their death. But one other successful whistleblower has yet to be restored his dues.
Former Indian Oil Corporation chief sales manager and IIT alumnus MK Tyagi made headlines last year, when he won a case in the Delhi High Court, in which the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) was rebuked for harassing him and the Court directed that he be compensated.
The High Court asked the CVC to compensate Mr Tyagi with a payment of Rs22,000 for the delay in the letter to Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to release his promotions and to pay him Rs30,000 by way of costs of his petition. But Mr Tyagi has not received his promotion letter, and Indian Oil's losses have not stopped.
"The Delhi High Court order of 5 August 2010 vindicated my exposure of loss of Rs99,000 per month till the year 2014 to the public exchequer, by Indian Oil. But the loss is still continuing, thereby nullifying my efforts. In spite of the observation of the High Court, Delhi police has not filed a factual report under section 173(8) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, to prosecute the then chairman MS Ramachandran for swindling public money," Mr Tyagi told Moneylife.
Despite Mr Tyagi's victory, his fight hasn't grabbed eyeballs. The company has refused to implement the CVC order, while the IIT alumnus association has not offered him support either. While the association had voiced vehement protests against the murder of Satyendra Dubey, another IIT alumnus, it has not extended any cooperation to Mr Tyagi.
Indian Oil senior officials were interested in supplying paraffin wax to a private company and supplying free equipment worth Rs15 crore to another company in Karnataka, both of which Mr Tyagi refused to sanction. Three promotions were withheld and Mr Tyagi was transferred from Mumbai to Bangalore, after he complained about the corrupt practices of the general manager MS Ramachandran in December 1999. In May 2000, Tyagi wrote to the CVC about his transfer and sought appropriate action against the "corrupt officers".
The CVC issued a letter to his company, saying that his promotions should not be withheld, and it put a stop to the official inquiry that was being conducted, accusing Mr Tyagi of making false allegations against his senior. While the IOC closed the proceedings against Mr Tyagi, it warned him not to expose such corrupt practices again and he was not called to give his testimony.
When Mr Tyagi evoked the RTI Act to get information about how much IOC was spending on the case monthly, the then chief information commissioner refused to provide him with the documents. Also, his superiors got away with a trifling penalty in the CVC case.
When Mr Tyagi approached the Delhi High Court, the ruling went in his favour. Yet, for all his troubles, neither has the then information commissioner MM Ansari (he is now an interlocutor for Kashmir), nor have his company superiors been punished. Mr Tyagi has also written to the prime minister and the home minister, but nothing has happened.
Mr Tyagi says, "In line with the CVC's advice dated 31 March 2005 to the then chairman, Sarthak Behuria, Mr Behuria had taken a decision to release my withheld promotions as out of court settlement of WP-29013 of 1998 & WA-1470 of 2005. But the decision has not yet been implemented, to wear me out. On top of everything I was called corrupt by the then information commissioner MM Ansari and I had to file a criminal defamation suit."
Mr Tyagi is disappointed by the entire experience. "In India, the corrupt are awarded, while the honest are punished. A whistleblower is eliminated, so it is to be seen how long I will continue my fight against corruption," he said.