The Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) in Ahmedabad will auction over 30 properties of Winsome Diamonds and Jewellery Ltd, one of India’s top defaulters that owes over Rs 4,600 crore to banks, on August 29. Most of the properties to be e-auctioned are commercial offices in Mumbai, Kolkata, Valsad and Goa, according to a bank official. The auctions will be conducted through http://www.bankeauctions.com between noon and 1 pm on August 29.
As per the DRT advertisement, the reserve price of 28 properties in Mumbai alone is approximately Rs 28.8 crore. A bidder interested in participating in the e-auction will have to submit an earnest money deposit — typically 10 per cent of the reserve price of the property — with the asset recovery branch of the DRT before the auction. The sale of the Winsome assets is being done on “as-it-is where-it-is basis and no-complaint basis”.
“This is the first time we are attempting to auction the properties of Winsome Diamonds and Jewellery. The prospective bidders can inspect the properties listed for sale on August 16,” said a recovery inspector at DRT, Ahmedabad.
Winsome owes Rs 4,687 crore to a consortium of banks headed by Standard Chartered Bank. Its associate firm, Forever Precious Diamonds and Jewellery, owes another Rs 2,121.82 crore to a set of banks led by PNB. The company was classified as a “wilful defaulter” by banks in October 2013.
“The company is extending all possible cooperation to DRT and lenders for better realisation of the property and the necessary formalities involved therein,” said Harshad Udani, director of Winsome Diamonds. In the past, lenders have not had much success with recovering dues through auction of assets of wilful defaulters. In the case of Kingfisher Airlines, the lenders were able to sell Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher Villa in Goa in April to an actor in a private treaty for about Rs 73 crore after three failed e-auctions. None of the auctions pertaining to the sale of the Kingfisher brand attracted any bidders.
The trouble for Winsome Diamonds and Forever Precious began in 2013 when 13 of their UAE-based distributors controlled by a Jordanian national, Haytham Ali Salman Abu Obidah, failed to pay Rs 4,760 crore to the company, according to the firm’s 2012-13 annual report.
Winsome Diamonds has claimed that the company and its subsidiaries have not diverted funds and were victims of non-payment by customers. Winsome has maintained that it did send the goods to the defaulting firms. The firm has claimed that Obidah and his associate companies suffered losses of about $1 billion in derivatives and commodity trading and were unable to pay their dues.
Winsome Diamonds has also come under the scanner of the CBI and the ED, which is probing the company under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The ED has already attached its assets worth Rs 171.97 crore.