Real estate developer D S Kulkarni, booked on charges of cheating thousands of investors of his DSK Group, has said he will launch a crowdfunding campaign to raise capital for his beleaguered business. In a press conference in Pune on Thursday, the builder expressed confidence that he would be able to raise enough money to tide over the financial crisis and kickstart his stalled ventures. Kulkarni claimed that many people have contacted him and expressed their willingness to help him financially. “Farmers from various parts of the state have called me to say they want to sell their land and house to help me,” he said.
On Wednesday, Kulkarni and his wife Hemanti were questioned for over two hours by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Pune City Police, a day after the Bombay High Court directed the couple to cooperate with investigation agencies. The court had also extended interim relief to Kulkarni and Hemanti, and had asked for a detailed presentation on the matter during the next hearing on February 12. However, Kulkarni refused to talk about the ongoing court case, saying the matter was subjudice. He said the idea of starting a crowdsourcing campaign, to raise working capital, was first introduced by Mandar Joglekar, CEO and founder of My Vishwa Corporation, a tech firm. “Six months ago, he had approached me with the proposal… but I had not agreed to it. But now, we plan to launch this campaign from Friday,” he said.
Kulkarni said he would appeal to people from all walks of life and society to help him out and donate to the crowdfunding campaign. The donations would be used to raise working capital which, he said, would be used to repay investors and complete his stalled real estate projects. Joglekar, whose personal website introduces him as an entrepreneur and technocrat, said crowdfunding was an accepted concept in the United States. “As a brand, DSK still commands tremendous respect, so I think it will not be difficult for us raise money…,” he said.
Kulkarni claimed that even before his plans to launch the campaign, almost Rs 9 lakh had been donated by people who trusted the niyat (integrity) of the builder. Along with crowdfunding, users of the Global Vishwa platform, an app, will also have the option to donate to Kulkarni. The money raised through the campaign would be accounted for in the audited statement presented before the court, said Kulkarni. “Once I am able to resurrect my business, I will launch a fund specially directed at entrepreneurs in distress,” he said.