10 years later, duped investors of Asia Pacific Investment Trust sight ray of hope
Pune, February 7 A decade after the first information report was filed in Pune against promoters of Hyderabad-based Asia Pacific Investment Trust Limited, the city police are in the process of filing charge sheet against 24 accused, including the then chairman of the trust, Field Marshall Sam Maneckshaw. Preparation of charge sheets against all is nearing completion but for the one against Maneckshaw as that will require a special sanction from the government.
âWe need a special permission from government for filing a charge sheet against Maneckshaw who is one of the accused,â Additional Commissioner of Police Rajender Singh told The Indian Express.
He said there was no problem in filing charge sheet against the other 23 accused and the work was proceeding at a fast pace.
âWe had deposited our money based on the advertisements carrying the appeal of Field Marshal Maneckshaw. But we have yet to get our money back even after a decade,â said Kamlakar Barbade, president of the investors forum set up by the depositors of Asia Pacific Investment Trust.
The case dates back to September 1998 when 55 investors approached Pune police alleging that Asia Pacific Investment Trust had duped them to the tune of Rs 1.53 crore. This followed the trust closing down its office in Shukrwar Peth in February 1998 without returning either the principal or interest of the depositors.
In a reply to an application under Right to Information (RTI) Act made by kin of a depositor P S Puranik, Assistant Commissioner of Police Vinod Satav said on February 4 that Rs 1,53,73,740 was the amount duped by the trust which had published advertisements in the name of its chairman Field Marshal Sam Maneckshaw inviting public to deposit their money with the trust at an interest rate of 15 per cent. Puranik was given the information only after state information commissioner (Pune) Vijay Kuwalekar intervened.
Till date, the police have recorded statement of 956 persons in the case, but have been unable to trace any of the directors of the company despite issuing summons to them under Section 160 of CrPC. The police team also found head office of the company closed in Hyderabad. At that time, Field Marshal Maneckshaw had obtained stay from Bombay High court. However, the investigations were resumed after the stay was lifted on January 19, 2002, police said.
The police investigation further revealed that a liquidator was appointed for the trust as per the direction of Hyderabad High Court, which also ordered that none of the officers of the trust be arrested. The original name of Asia Pacific Company was Nagarjuna Finance against which there are 93 cases registered in Hyderabad and investigations are still pending.
The police had registered cases against 24 office-bearers of the Trust under IPC 420 for cheating, Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Deposits (In Financial Establishment) Act and Reserve Bank of India Act 58(b)(5).