Mumbai-based late Uday M Acharya and his heirs, named by the Income-Tax department as top tax defaulters, owe over Rs 450 crore to at least 29,000 small investors for the last 16 years.
The Income-Tax department on December 30 published a list of tax defaulters, which said Acharya and his legal heirs Amul Acharya and Bhavna Acharya owe over Rs 790 crore to tax authorities. The tax defaulters’ list also said Acharya and his legal heirs have “inadequate or no assets for recovery.” The department, in the notice, asked the “defaulters” to pay tax arrears “immediately” and at the same time requested the public to inform if they have any knowledge of these people. The defaulters list is issued under the ‘naming and shaming’ policy adopted by the tax authorities last year. So far, the tax authority has named 69 entities which owe over Rs 2,860 crore. So far Acharya tops the list with the biggest tax liability.
According to several investors who spoke to The Indian Express, Acharyas’ had in the early 90s floated a non-banking finance company (NBFC) CU Marketing. The company had collected deposits from small investors promising highly attractive rates of interest, but defaulted on maturity payments in 1999.
In September 1999, Acharya was arrested by the economic offences wing (EOW) of the Mumbai police for cheating investors and for misappropriation of property. Subsequently, police attached at least 39 properties of Acharya and his family that included two hotels in Vile-Parle in Mumbai under Maharashtra Protection of Interests of Depositors (in Financial Establishments) Act or MPID.
The Indian Express was not able to reach eitherAmul Acharya or Bhavna Acharya for comments.
In May 2011, the Supreme Court directed the competent authority under the MPID Act to dispose of certain properties of Acharya to repay investors. According to the website of Mumbai Suburban District, in December 2014 the competent authority under MPID auctioned 18 properties of CU Marketing and its owner Acharya.
Ironically, till now, the investors have not received their money. Some like Vijay Vishnu Ingale say that they are willing to forego the interest if they get their principal amount back.
“Where is the money? My father had invested Rs 1.6 lakh in CU Marketing in 1999. I am yet to receive the principal amount, leave alone interest,” said Ingale. Another Mumbai-based investor Flory Fernandes who had invested over Rs 1 lakh in NBFC firm, said she has not heard from the company or the police since the arrest of Acharya in 1999.
“There has been no feedback on the case and my money till now,” she added.