WIDOW BREAKS HER SILENCE AFTER 20 YEARS
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It was almost past 11 p.m. on 30th December 2001 that lightning struck me when I was informed of the sudden and tragic death of my husband in Thane jail after 54 days of custody even though he was absolutely hale and hearty and was just 47 years of age with no prior medical history of any heart ailment. On that fateful day, the jail authorities neglected his genuine complaint for 4 precious hours after he suffered the first heart attack at around 7 p.m. He immediately reported the unusual pain to his younger brother Sudhir who was in the next cell from where he could hear Harshad but could not see him. The jail doctors saw him but did not have any medication for a heart attack. Harshad, therefore, requested them to give him Sorbitrate (medicine) which I had given upon his arrest 54 days ago as an emergency measure which was kept in jail custody. Due to his presence of mind, Harshad requested them to give him that Sorbitrate which kept him alive for about 4 hours. Unfortunately, thereafter the jail authorities did not use that golden time of 4 hours to shift him to a hospital which could have saved his life.
Only at 11 p.m., he was made to walk for a long distance to the Thane hospital where he immediately succumbed in a wheelchair after his cardiogram confirmed a massive second heart attack. We were told that an inquiry was ordered by the authorities and even post-mortem was carried out but neither the copy of such Inquiry Report nor the post-mortem Report was provided to us despite repeated requests. The above facts confirm that there was gross neglect by the jail authorities in treating my husband in time and in fact Sudhir in the next cell was not even informed at 11 pm about the shifting of Harshad to the hospital and only the next morning he was informed that his elder brother is no more. I and my family members reached Thane hospital only after he had already expired.
Before the cremation of Harshad which was carried out the next day, our family under the spiritual advice of our Pujya Gurudev took a decision not to protest and rake up the issue about the neglect of the jail authorities as it would not bring him back but the wounds are fresh and refuse to heal themselves despite the passage of 20 years since then and our entire family sorely misses him. In these 20 years, our family has also observed complete silence and stayed away from the media by not making a single statement on any issue touching our lives and the huge litigation that has taken place since then and also about our continued sufferings and group punishment being meted out to us by the authorities only because we are related to Harshad even though we have not violated any law of the land. The assets of each and every family member and corporate entities promoted by us (Mehtas) have been under attachment now for the past 30 years when the Custodian appointed under Section 3(2) of Special Court (Trial of Offences Relating to Transactions in Securities) Act, 1992 (Torts Act) a draconian statute, notified us and attached our assets on 8.6.1992. Our family decided that the best homeage can be paid to Harshad by fulfilling his unfulfilled wishes and fervent wish to meet all the liabilities.
We feel aggrieved that our fundamental and other valuable constitutional and human rights have been suspended and grossly violated for the past 30 years and our family is being given a group punishment even though we have not undertaken a single transaction with the banks nor any banks have lodged any claims on us and despite the Custodian not establishing any nexus or flow of any tainted monies to us as required in law. I am taking this opportunity of sharing some facts relating to our sufferings of the past 30 years and also place substantial facts and evidence before you post the demise of Harshad as a huge curiosity exists to find out what has happened to the family post-Harshad's demise. These 30 years have been a long and very difficult journey for Mehtas and it is not possible for me to narrate all the facts and events of the past 30 years besides the fact that I am also constrained as some of the matters are still sub-judice and pending adjudication in Hon’ble Courts at Mumbai and in Hon’ble Supreme Court. I say that these facts are presented to vindicate what Harshad had stated in his defence and also because they are already established, discovered, proved and unimpeachable since they are in the form of orders passed by Hon’ble Courts and duly supported by proven documents.
Harshad till his last breath had reposed complete faith in the judiciary of this country and never ran away from it for 9 years even though he suffered huge humiliation and rebuke and was disbelieved when he spoke and therefore he virtually lived a life of anonymity. The biggest problem we have faced is that the entire family’s assets got attached and despite our having huge surplus of assets we have not been released any monies to defend ourselves against the criminal charges, to contest false claims of Income Tax and banks nor to take any corrective action of deliberate failures of Custodian in recovering our attached assets lying with third parties. We are adjudged guilty without trial and presumed to be insolvent as if no monies or assets belonged to us and as if it was all ill-gotten and false presumption has been made ever since 1992 that our liabilities are far greater than our assets. Our constitutional rights to be represented by Advocates of our choice has been repeatedly denied to us under false presumption that the claims made on us are correct even after Hon’ble Special Court itself came to the conclusion that there was gross miscarriage of justice in the assessment of incomes of Harshad Mehta and it was found that his turnover was treated as his taxable income and all the investments made by the family were unexplained to treat the entire cost of investments as our taxable incomes. I rely upon the order passed by Hon’ble Special Court on 29.09.2007 in Report 15 of 2006 where 92% of the income has been scaled down by Hon’ble Special Court. All the 4 applications filed by us in 1996, 2003, 2013 and in 2022 seeking release of monies have been rejected by Hon’ble Special Court and their facts are further explained hereinafter. It is strange that Kasab was provided legal services even after committing the most heinous crime in the open keeping with our constitutional provisions but we have been unfortunate in this regard and now compelled since past several years to defend our own self even in the biggest and the most complex matters and in all the forums. Fortunately, one amongst us, Shri Ashwin Mehta had done law in 1979 and therefore obtained a license in the year 2013 to appear as Advocate so that the massive damage we suffered after Harshad’s demise and complete breakdown has been partially repaired and recovered and for this we really thank the Almighty. The Custodian who has been appointed to manage our assets but he has grossly and deliberately mismanaged them and caused huge and irreparable losses of thousands of crores to our family but for which we would not have been struggling for past 30 years. Harshad went unrepresented for several years and even today is not sufficiently represented as I being a housewife and due to poor health could not represent him and for some years I bona fide believed that the Custodian will discharge his statutory duties and defend Harshad after his sudden demise in jail.
After suffering both long widowhood and attachment of her assets our mother Smt Rasila Mehta passed away on 26.04.2020 at the age of 84 years without getting justice since her crucial Civil Appeals have not been heard by the Hon'ble Supreme Court from 2011 onwards even though as a very senior citizen she was entitled to an urgent hearing. She filed 2 Applications to seek early justice while she was alive. and they were granted but yet very unfortunately and yet her Appeals could not be heard for one reason or the other. Unfortunately, even a small portion of her shareholdings in Hero Honda purchased before the alleged scam of 1991-92 and which had no nexus with any funds belonging to banks were not released to her though they were sought to meet her medical expenses due to her repeated hospitalization and other obligations which she wanted to discharge in her lifetime. The recent Application to defend her estate has also been rejected. Notwithstanding above, the past 20 years post Harshad’s demise have also been extremely eventful as we made herculean efforts to survive and turn around the situation, a complete account of which is now given to all of you.
There was a complete breakdown after the sudden demise of Harshad as I had no resources to defend myself and the estate of late Harshad because of attachment of our assets and also because I suffered from deep bouts of depression due to his sudden demise. This breakdown was fully exploited both by the Income Tax department (IT department) and the banks who foisted upon Harshad and the rest of us patently false and illegal claims and the banks secured ex-parte decrees against the estate of Harshad for much higher amounts and in some cases where no amounts were due. The Custodian who has a statutory duty to manage our attached assets deliberately failed to do so including in the case of Harshad despite his sudden demise and also had a duty to contest every false claim not only on our behalf but also to protect the interest of other genuine creditors. Abandoning his duty he took advantage of our condition and colluded with the IT department and the banks in several ways. Much before the claims against us could be crystallised and knowing fully well that they were false and highly exaggerated but the Custodian yet supported and secured the release of Rs.3285.46 Crores in favour of the IT department and Rs.1716.07 Crores in favour of the banks. To confer benefits on them the Custodian violated the law laid down by Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Harshad Shantilal Mehta vs. Custodian reported (1998) 5 SCC 1 which is explained hereinafter. The Custodian enormously hurt our interest by prematurely selling all our appreciating Blue Chip shares at throwaway prices and thereby inflicted upon us huge losses of Rs.20,677.28 Crores just in order to make above large payments to the IT department and the banks. The details above losses are provided in the enclosed chart.
The Custodian has also caused us losses by deliberately not recovering our attached assets from banks and third parties valued at more than Rs.5000 Crores and which included several cases where the Hon’ble Courts have already directed him to recover these assets and several orders remain pending to be complied with by the Custodian for past 25/30 years. The custodian is govererned by two ulterior objects being one to hurt us by conferring favours on to several third parties using our assets and second to create a huge hole in our assets and then falsely canvass that our liabilities exceed assets. From 2006 onwards when we discovered the failures of Custodian and exposed his illegal conduct he has started acting more revengefully against us. The Custodian has also discriminated against us as in the case of other notified entities, he has been recovering their attached assets of even a few lakhs but in our case not recovering our attached assets of thousands of crores and a chart is enclosed in respect of others. We also have large recoveries of shares and accruals on them from other notified entities which is the simplest task as it involves the transfer of shares and monies from other notified entities to us both of whom are within his control but yet in ten cases even such recoveries have deliberately not been caused by the Custodian which conclusively establishes our above allegations. In fact our shares are sold in their hands and monies have been used to discharge the liabilities of other notified entities and details of pending recoveries are provided in enclosed chart.
The IT department has been given a priority over banks and other creditors under the Torts Act and to exploit it the IT department had foisted upon Mehtas patently illegal demands of about Rs.30,000 Crores by exaggerating our taxable incomes by more than 100 times and then levied interest of thousands of crores charged for past 30 years. We are contesting about 2200 orders out of which more than 1200 cases including the largest ones are already won by us. Since Harshad offered to unconditionally meet all his obligations in 1992 itself and he and our family would have been left with surplus assets in our hands, so in order to prevent us from coming back to the market, the above false claims have been foisted upon us to entangle us in prolonged litigation which department has succeeded in achieving for past 30 years. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and the department in several of their Circulars have already admitted to the existence of such pernicious practise of the department to raise false demands and thereafter take coercive steps to recover monies against such illegal demands but in our case, the IT department has gone to extreme levels. After Harshad’s demise and suffering 3 rounds of illegal assessments we have already won more than 1200 large cases and brought down the illegal demands from Rs.30,000 Crores to Rs.4000 Crores and also secured refunds to Custodian of Rs.814.33 Crores and further refunds of about Rs.5500 Crores are already overdue and not being made by the IT department. When the balance appeals are heard the claims are expected to fall to about Rs.200 Crores and further refunds would fall due. I say that between the IT department and Custodian there is a clear plan to usurp Rs.3285.46 Crores released to them by completely paralyzing our organization in which plan they almost succeeded but for the rearguard action taken by our family. While we have suffered losses of Rs.20,677.28 Crores the IT department is incurring liability to pay interest because large amounts have already become refundable to us with interest.
The IT department has a reputation of acting as an adversary of the assessees and therefore the present Government has advised the Assessing Officers (AOs) not to harass the assessees. However in the case of Mehtas during past 30 years starting from 1992 the IT department has unleashed on us the highest form of “tax terrorism”. The department during their raid carried out on us on 28.02.1992 seized vast quantities of our computer data and records and on which basis it made some provisional assessment of taxable incomes earned by us. Since our family was already facing difficulties because of massive adverse reports in media, seizure of our bank accounts and suspension of our 3 brokerage firms in the middle of May 1992 and reports of likely investigation against Harshad by CBI we decided to buy peace with the department and on 02.06.1992 made a declaration of income u/s 132(4) of the IT Act of Rs.100 Crores duly clarifying that no incomes were earned outside of books of accounts and this declaration was a highest-ever declaration of income till that date. The IT department was extremely happy with the declaration as it knew that we had not sold the shares and the capital gains accrued on them were liable to be taxed only as we sell the shares. We made the above declaration even though our business had come to a complete halt due to all the above unforeseen events.
Thereafter within 4 days on 6/6/1992, the Government promulgated by way of an Ordinance Torts Act and u/s 11(2)(a) of this Act the IT department was given a priority for recovery of its dues over the banks and other creditors. It is then that the IT department planned to take full advantage of the priority accorded to it and take away all the attached monies and assets lying in the hands of Custodian completely unmindful of the fact that the same would defeat the objects of the Torts Act which was brought about as a Special Statute to protect the interest of banks. From 1993 onwards, the department started making high-pitched assessments and pressed for the release of monies against these demands. The Hon’ble Special Court noticed this conduct of the department and made strong observations against it in its order dated 02.07.1993 in MA 107 of 1993 criticizing it.
Despite the observations and instead of making amends the IT department acted with vengeance and between 1993 to 1996 assessed abnormally high incomes in case of all Mehtas which on the face of it could not have been earned by any one of us as the incomes were assessed more than 100 times of the actual taxable incomes. I am pleased to enclose charts giving the particulars of income assessed for 6 years for individuals and 5 years for companies. In support of my allegations about the falsity of the assessments I am also pleased to enclose a few charts as samples wherein the Appellate Authorities have deleted the false additions upto 99%. It can be seen that against the declaration of income of Rs.100 Crores based on the same seized material and records the department assessed incomes of Rs.5604.92 Crores in the case of 9 individuals and Rs.556.80 Crores in case of the corporate entities. I say that the Hon'ble Special Court in 1993 also appointed 3 reputed firms of Chartered Accountants to draw our books of accounts and audit them for the crucial period between 1990 and 1993 and had empowered these Chartered Accountants to verify each and every transaction with the third parties. The books of accounts were drawn by us and placed before these Chartered Accountants who thoroughly verified them. In support of my allegations I am pleased to enclose a chart which gives a comparison between the incomes disclosed in the books of accounts and the incomes assessed by the IT department for Assessment Years 1992-93 and 1993-94 to show how patently illegal the assessments were framed by the department. The IT department then colluded with the Custodian and both acting in violation of the binding law in Harshad Mehta's judgment secured release of Rs. 3285.46 Crores for the department as already explained earlier out of which Rs.2322.10 Crores was recovered from Harshad alone. The Custodian by his illegal conduct has already achieved his mala fide objects of persecuting us and ensured the continuance of his office for past 30 years.
Thereafter when we secured reliefs from Hon’ble CIT(Appeals) and Hon’ble Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) through more than 1200 orders, the benefit under them have been completely denied to us by the department through several illegal and high-handed methods so much so that for 12 years the 90 orders passed by Hon'ble ITAT directing the AO to assess our incomes based on our books of accounts and after giving us a proper opportunity, the same were not complied with and in the meantime our assets were being sold and the monies were being released to the department. To save our residential premises ordered to be sold for the third time we placed the above facts before Hon’ble Supreme Court who was pleased to intervene and pass orders on 02.05.2017 and 08.05.2017 in Civil Appeal 6326 of 2010 directing the tax authorities to comply with the above 90 orders in 12 weeks but even the above orders have not been complied with by the department for past 5 years. In some of our largest cases, we made a grievance before Hon'ble ITAT which was pleased to grant us reliefs under a combined order dated 14.01.2019, the particulars of which are provided in 4 enclosed charts. It is because of the above order that the additions were deleted between 99% to 100% on account of which about Rs.5500 Crores have become refundable to us but unfortunately these refunds are also not being made by the department for past 3 years without any valid reasons. Instead, the IT department is seeking the further release of monies to it even though its assessment orders are already quashed.
After seeing the conduct of the IT department and in order to resolve the conflict between the competing demands of Income Tax and the banks on the funds attached by the Custodian, the Hon’ble Special Court framed 3 questions of law and answered them through its judgment and order dated 20.02.1995 in MA 107 of 1993 (Para 98 onwards). The Hon’ble Special Court held that once a person is notified and has adequate assets then no interest or penalty is leviable on him due to the legal disability cast upon him by attachment of his assets. This judgment was then challenged before the Hon’ble Supreme Court by the banks, IT department, notified persons and the Custodian and even the constitutional validity of the provisions of the Torts Act was challenged by Standard Chartered Bank because according to them the monies belonging to them and lying in the hands of notified persons duly attached by the Custodian were taken away by the department by raising illegal demands. The Hon’ble Supreme Court framed 6 questions of law and also examined the constitutional validity of the provisions of the Torts Act and answered them through a landmark judgment titled Harshad Shantilal Mehta Vs Custodian reported as (1998) 5 SCC 1. However and unfortunately the law laid down in the above judgment has been grossly violated by the IT department, banks and the Custodian all acting in collusion with each other have denied us the benefit of law laid down by Hon’ble Supreme Court through its above landmark judgment. These gross violations are explained below:
The conflict between the claims of the IT department and banks was resolved in favour of the banks by giving primacy to the objects of the Torts Act and interpreting the phrase “Taxes Due” strictly as used in Section 11(2)(a) and giving complete discretionary powers to the Special Court to decide the amounts that could be paid to the department (Paras 26, 28, 29 and 34). Despite the above, all the organs of the State acting in collusion have secured the release of vast amounts as already explained. This is done by taking away the assets and monies belonging to Mehtas to meet false and illegal claims on Harshad.
The phrase “Taxes Due” was defined strictly to include only those demands of the IT department which were legal and which had become final and binding till which time no monies were liable to be released to the department (Paras 23 and 24). Yet above large amounts were released which are now refundable with interest thus no amounts were liable to be released and now the same are not being refunded.
The priority u/s 11(2)(a) was in respect of only those demands covering the statutory period of the Torts Act being 01.04.1991 to 06.06.1992 (Paras 25, 26 and 37). Only claims for Assessment Year 1992-93 fell in priority but yet even demands of Assessment Year 1993-94 amounting to Rs.1038.59 Crores are recovered.
It was expressly laid down that claims of creditors can be met by the Custodian and Hon’ble Special Court only when the ‘date of distribution’ arrives which arrives after examination of all claims by and against notified persons (Para 27). Unless a full picture of assets and liabilities emerge a fair distribution cannot take place but yet large amounts were released to the IT department and banks by prematurely selling the assets causing huge losses and now monies are not being brought back by the department. Instead of recovering Rs.193.71 Crores back from the department as ordered in Para 39 by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, several thousand crores were further released to the IT department.
Law was laid down that liability to pay tax should be determined under the Income Tax Act and the Special Court cannot sit in appeal over the same but full powers were given to it to decide how much amount should be paid to the department (Paras 28 to 36). Such discretion was exercisable by taking several factors into account. The Hon’ble Special Court examined the assessment orders against Harshad and concluded under order dated 29.09.2007 in Report 15 of 2006 that there was a gross miscarriage of justice in Harshad’s assessments. This order upon challenge was largely upheld by Hon’ble Supreme Court under their judgment in the case of DCIT vs. SBI reported as (2009) 2 SCC 451 wherein the banks and the department were directed to prove their contentions in 3 months but now for the past 13 years this judgment and the directions given therein are not complied with.
That despite above, the Hon’ble Special Court by an order dated 25.02.2011 passed in Report 9 of 2010 directed to make payment to the IT department of Rs.1995.67 Crores and Rs.225 Crores to banks and further directed to transfer large amounts of Rs.1808.27 Crores lying in the accounts of Mehtas to the account of Harshad to meet claims against him and particulars of amount transferred are enclosed.
Law was also laid down that the Special Court cannot absolve a notified person from levy of penalty or interest by the IT department and granted a remedy to the notified entities to seek its waiver under the Income Tax Act. It laid down that the claims of the IT department for interest and penalty post statutory period of the Torts Act of 01.04.1991 to 06.06.1992 are not covered under the Act. The Special Court has full discretion to meet claims of interest and penalty only if there is a surplus left with the Custodian after meeting priority claims (Para 38). Custodian acting illegally is still presenting a false picture of our liabilities by including interest and penalty in them even before the Hon’ble Special Court exercises and even we avail the remedy given to us by Hon’ble Supreme Court.
Law is laid down that liability of a notified person should be met out of his own assets and monies and assets of any other person cannot be used for meeting the same. It was clearly held that otherwise, the Torts Act will have to be held to be constitutionally invalid. The banks were given remedy to establish their claims on the attached assets in accordance with law (Refer Paras 11 to 15, 17, 18 and 41). In gross violation of above the Custodian, IT department and banks acting in collusion with each other have canvassed that all Mehtas should be treated as ‘one entity’ as “Harshad Mehta Group” and assets of all the entities should be used to discharge the liabilities of Harshad and in this manner more than Rs.3000 Crores are already transferred from the accounts of Mehtas to the account of Harshad and thereafter used to make payments to the IT department and the banks. The Custodian and the Hon’ble Special Court have sold our blue-chip shares at throw-away prices causing huge losses to us which cannot be recouped now even if monies are refunded by the IT department and banks.
In violation of Harshad Mehta’s judgment, now for more than 2 decades, the Custodian has been presenting completely false assets and liabilities picture by understating our assets and by overstating our liabilities by including the high-pitched and illegal demands of the IT department in our liabilities even though they have not become final and binding and even though claims for interest and penalty are not covered under the Torts Act. This is done with the mala-fide intent to portray a picture that our liabilities are far greater than our assets and in order to create a false justification for taking steps against us. This is done overruling our protest and even after we have conclusively established the illegality and falsity of the demands of the IT department. This is singularly responsible for causing us huge losses by selling our shares. Acting contrary to the objectives of the Torts Act, the Custodian has promoted the interest of the IT department at our cost and after causing such losses the Custodian has illegally canvassed the Harshad Mehta Group theory to take away our surplus assets to meet the claims on Harshad.
In violation of the above law and even before crystallization of liabilities the Custodian got approved a scheme governing the sale of shares and urged that the shares belonging to notified entities can and should be sold and sale proceeds are paid over to the IT department towards its illegal claims. Against all canons of law, it was canvassed that shares may be sold even if there are no liabilities to be met and the scheme was approved under the order of Hon’ble Special Court dated 17.08.2000 in MP 64 of 1998 and later upheld with some modifications by Hon’ble Supreme Court under order dated 23.08.2001 in Civil Appeal 7629 of 1999. That all valid objections raised by us both against the scheme and sale were overruled and the shares were sold at throw-away prices and offering deep discounts causing huge losses to us. In fact, the shares of ACC and Apollo Tyres in which our holdings constituted Controlling Block of shares and which were already commanding huge premiums were sold at a deep discount. The shares of Apollo Tyres were offered to the management of the company who bought it at Rs.90/- per share when the ruling market price was Rs.120/- per share. Similarly, shares of ACC were sold at Rs.170/- when the market price was about Rs.210/-
Upon challenge, the sale of shares of Apollo Tyres was partially set aside by the Hon'ble Supreme Court through their judgment in the case of Ashwin S. Mehta Vs Union of India reported as (2012) 1 SCC 83. The Hon’ble Court concluded that the shares were sold by the Special Court in violation of both the principles of natural justice and the scheme governing the sale of shares as we should have been granted an opportunity to bring a better offer as prayed by us. Despite holding that the entire sale was liable to be set aside but only 1/3rd of the shares in existence i.e. 1.79 Crore shares of Rs.1/- f.v. have been recovered with dividends and we are pursuing the recovery of balance 3.69 Crore shares of Apollo of Rs.1/- f.v. Upon our complaint, SEBI has passed 2 orders on 09.07.2014 and 22.11.2018 concluding that Apollo Tyres had violated the Regulations governing Buyback of shares and the matter is now pending before Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT). All orders are enclosed.
Due to our relentless efforts, we have already secured refunds of Rs.814.33 Crores paid by the IT department to the Custodian but about Rs.5500 Crores are yet not being refunded and the Custodian is also not securing these refunds both to confer a favour on the department and to understate our assets. Now for the past 4 years, the IT department is not even presenting the updated picture of its demands even after 19 letters are addressed by the Custodian to it just to create a record.
By presenting a completely false liabilities picture, the Custodian has sold all our offices and we were asked to vacate them in 48 hours so as to break and paralyze our organization. To uproot our family, the Custodian immediately after Harshad Mehta’s judgment filed MP 41 of 1999 seeking the sale of our only residential flats at Madhuli which Petition was vigorously pursued by him for 18 years and because of misrepresentations made by him, our residential flats were sold 3 times by Hon’ble Special Court under orders dated 17.10.2003, 25.07.2008 and 30.04.2010 all of which were quashed and set aside by Hon’ble Supreme Court upon our challenge under their following judgments and orders, copies of which are enclosed:
Ashwin S. Mehta Vs Custodian reported as (2006) 2 SCC 385.
Jyoti Harshad Mehta Vs Custodian reported as (2009) 10 SCC 564.
Order dated 02.05.2017 in Civil Appeal No.6326 of 2010, further modified on 08.05.2017.
Ours must be the only case in the Indian history where the same Ld. Judge ordered sale of our residential flats at Madhuli Apartments for 3 times and God Almighty saved us through Hon’ble Supreme Court on all the 3 occasions. But for our relentless efforts in contesting false claims and recovery of our attached assets our family would have been on the roads. However, we lament that the above victories came with a huge cost as our offices and our assets were sold causing huge losses and saving our residence is a very little consolation in our overall sufferings.
Group punishment is violative of our fundamental rights under the Constitution, our other constitutional and human rights, provisions of the Torts Act, the Income Tax Act, the Civil Procedure Code and the binding law laid down under all the above statutes by Hon’ble Supreme Court and even the terms of decrees obtained by banks.
The Custodian under the Torts Act has a statutory duty to preserve and recover our assets but has completely abandoned his statutory duties under the Act and instead has stepped into the shoes of the creditors to seek and secure for them what they were not entitled to and at the same time achieve several of his ulterior objects. The Custodian has sought maximization of assets under his management which is achieved by abusing the powers of notification. The vast asset base has then been used to confer huge benefits on the IT department, the banks and several third parties. Litigation has been promoted to perpetuate attachment of our assets and at the same time ensure the continuation of his office. After inviting claims against us in the year 2005 in order to make distribution amongst our creditors and after seeing that virtually no claims were received against the family members and the corporate entities the Custodian unilaterally decided to canvass the aforesaid Harshad Mehta Group theory though the same had no basis in law and facts. Custodian filed a Report dated 12.08.2005 urging that the final distribution u/s 11(2) of the Torts Act can be undertaken in respect of 60 notified entities including all the Mehtas and secured on that basis secured an order from Hon’ble Special Court on 05.09.2005 and invited claims through Public Notice dated 19.10.2005. After seeing that no claims from banks were received against the family members and the corporate entities the custodian illegally propounded the “Harshad Mehta Group Theory”.
Under the Income Tax Act, there is no provision to recover dues of “A” from “B” even if “B” is related to “A” unless it establishes that “B” owes money to “A”. That despite being given a remedy the banks have not lodged any claims on the assets of family members and corporate entities but in fact have obtained ex-parte decrees only against the estate of Harshad expressly stating that the legal heirs, Smt Rasila S. Mehta (mother), Shri Aatur Mehta (son) and I were joined as parties and we would be liable for the decree on Harshad only to the extent of inheritance received by us as per the decrees themselves. That both mother and son have not made any claim on the estate of Harshad and I have not received any inheritance from Harshad except a huge amount of litigation but despite above the Custodian acting in collusion with the IT department and the banks have canvassed that we should all be treated as ‘one entity’ under the ‘Harshad Mehta Group’ theory and on that basis got transferred huge amounts of more than Rs.3000 Crores from our accounts to the account of Harshad and used them to meet claims on him of IT department and banks even though his assets were more than sufficient to meet all valid claims. The copies of ex-parte decrees are enclosed wherein it is clearly stated that monies are payable to banks from the estate of late Shri Harshad Mehta.
That Custodian, IT department, NHB, SBI and its subsidiaries fall in the definition of ‘State’ as defined under Article 12 of the Constitution and therefore are required to act legally, fairly and in a non-discriminatory manner but in the case of Mehtas they have been unitedly acting illegally, unfairly, high-handedly and have also discriminated against us in several ways and thereby violated our fundamental rights guaranteed to us under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India which are sacrosanct. Besides above, they have also violated our other valuable constitutional and human rights. Article 265 of the Constitution lays down that “taxes not to be imposed say by the authority of law. No tax shall be levied or collected except by authority of law" but yet against our liability to pay the tax of about Rs.200 Crores the IT department levied taxes, interest and penalty on us of about Rs.30,000 Crores and thereafter illegally recovered from us huge amounts of Rs.3285.46 Crores in complete violation of Harshad Mehta’s judgment and now for past several years illegally retained the amounts by not making the refunds of thousands of crores in gross violation of the Torts Act and the Income Tax Act and even undertakings executed by it before Hon’ble Courts to unconditionally bring the amounts back with interest as and when ordered to do so. Since false additions against us were deleted by the appellate authorities, the department had a duty to refund the above amounts even without being ordered to do so both under the Torts Act and Sec.240 of the Income Tax Act and as per several Circulars issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) copies of which are enclosed.
Article 300A of the Constitution provides that “persons not to be deprived of property save by authority of law”. We are aggrieved that even though we had no obligation to meet the claims on Harshad, the Custodian, IT department and the banks have taken away more than Rs.3000 Crores from us only to persecute us. The Custodian is neither securing refunds from the IT department belonging to Harshad nor recovering his attached assets. Besides above, Sections 50 and 52 of the Civil Procedure Code lays down that legal heirs are liable only to the extent of inheritance received by them but yet assets of late Smt Rasila Mehta and my assets have been used to discharge claims against Harshad.
We have already established that each one of us has a surplus of assets and that even Harshad has adequate assets to meet all the genuine claims on him and therefore the family members and the corporate entities are liable to be denotified and their assets can be released from attachment. The Hon’ble Special Court appointed 3 firms of Chartered Accountants under combined orders dated 03.08.1993 and 03.02.1994 to draw the books of account and carry out verification of the transactions. Since the Chartered Accountants failed, we prepared and provided our books of accounts to the 3 firms of Chartered Accountants appointed by the Hon’ble Special Court for verification and disclosed the taxable incomes earned by us but the Custodian and the IT department working hand-in-glove are not examining these books of accounts at all.
We are aggrieved that though Harshad was not proved guilty by the CBI of allegations made against him but even after 2 decades of his demise, Harshad is referred to by the media and in the movies as a scamster who defrauded the banks by about Rs.5000 Crores. This is even though not a penny is now owed to the banks since Rs.1716.07 Crores the principal amount of the decrees are fully paid and even though the same are still under challenge. Harshad’s assets are lying with several banks including SBI, SBI Capital Markets and NHB as only some of them have been recovered till date. Each and every bank after April 1992 have dishonestly sought to usurp the attached assets and monies belonging to Harshad Mehta and the Special Court have already given adverse findings against all the leading banks including Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank, SBI and SBI Caps, Canfina, PNB Capital Markets and PNB Mutual Fund whose orders are enclosed by me in support of my allegations and for ease of reference I am enclosing a list of all such orders which list is not exhaustive.
The allegations on Harshad that both the economy and the small investors suffered hugely are equally false as he became a victim of trial by media. In most difficult times Harshad never ever thought of leaving the country and till his death reposed faith in the judiciary and without being proved guilty received the highest punishment of death in jail at 47 years of age. I have at length dealt with all allegations against Harshad in this website. His name and his story have been commercially exploited through the web series and a movie though they are not founded on facts. Albeit I and my family members were surprised by the success of the web series as even though no verification of facts was carried out with us nor our consent obtained, yet the public has liked Harshad and his story in the web series even though not founded in facts. I wish to therefore defend Harshad who went undefended while the web series and the movie were produced.
The Sucheta story as published in the newspapers and later followed up through her book is completely false. The news article written by her for the Times of India published on 23.04.1992 was malicious and motivated by a mala fide object to finish Harshad and his reputation and business and the article was libellous. Sucheta had no courage to name Harshad and therefore referred to him as “Big Bull” as he was widely known then. She knew very well and has already admitted that her source was the gossip of an ex-employee of SBI received by her only on 22.04.1992 and on the same day she verified her story with Shri M.N. Goiporia, Chairman of SBI as also Shri C.L. Khemani, the Dy. General Manager of SBI, both of whom clearly denied that there was any outstanding of Rs.500 Crores from Harshad which required squaring up. Sucheta yet mischievously presented the headline story of reconciliation and squaring up between Big Bull and SBI and gave it a false colour of criminality. She knew the facts and which are also admitted in her book that by 22.04.1992 and within 4 working days Harshad had already paid an amount of Rs.616.17 Crores to SBI as demanded of him and therefore there was no dispute or any foul intent of Harshad to cheat or hurt SBI. Harshad had duly explained to SBI that his business was deeply affected by a raid conducted by the IT department on 28.02.1992 under which all his computers and other records were seized. He explained that securities in several transactions were receivable by his firm and since the raid would continue for 90 days he could not collect or deliver the securities as they could get seized by the department and permanently affect the transaction. Ms. Sucheta Dalal followed by other journalists portrayed a picture as if some major crime and a huge scam was committed without verifying that before 23.04.1992 in the money market every participant had always fulfilled all their obligations. Her motive was to paralyze the business of Harshad by painting him as a criminal and such deep was the impact of the articles that the entire money market virtually came to a halt and all pending transactions were deeply affected. In a market that was driven by trust, so much chaos was caused that all the leading players did not honour their transactions post 23.04.1992 since everybody was affected.
In order to clear his name and arrest losses to the investors and since he had no motive to defraud any banks, Harshad took the following steps:
On 17.05.1992 he issued a Press Release to clarify that since allegations of huge losses to the banks were being made, he made unconditional offers to meet all his commitments and requested to set up a joint meeting. That he had the highest concern for the investors who were facing trauma of melting of their wealth caused due to completely avoidable panic. He reiterated that the long-term outlook was very bright and he had full faith in country’s economy and judicial system.
On 17.05.1992 itself he also addressed a letter to CBI even before any FIR was filed and sought meeting with them to extend complete co-operation and explain the transactions. He offered to secure the amounts as there was no intention to cause any losses. That adverse publicity was impairing the value of assets and offered to resolve all issues.
On 25.05.1992 he addressed a letter to Janakiraman Committee formed by the Government to seek its appointment and to follow-up on his offer to meet all his obligations.
On 26.05.1992 the Janakiraman Committee replied stating that it was not the function of the Committee to deal with the proposal of Harshad to secure repayment due to the banks and that he should take up the matters with the banks. He was also asked to supply information which have bearing on the reference given to the Committee.
On 02.06.1992 he addressed a letter to Dr. Manmohan Singh to make his unconditional offer and disclosed that there were outstanding transactions of about Rs.1100 Crores which were undertaken as per prevailing market practice. He stated that he has assets which he was willing to place in the custody of any bank or institution pending crystallization of the amounts so that the apprehensions about losses are quelled. He stated that he had large receivables and was separately approaching SBI and Grindlays Bank and offered himself to abide by any instructions. The copy of the above letter was also furnished to Hon’ble Minister of Banking, RBI Governor and Dy. Governor and CBI.
On 03.06.1992 he addressed a letter to the Janakiraman Committee in response to its reply dated 26.05.1992. He made a grievance that the problem exposure figure arrived at on the basis of records of the banks and without hearing him were highly exaggerated. That his money market assets of Rs.250 Crores deposited with NHB were not considered at all. That several banks had defaulted to him and he had substantial receivables from them. The Committee in its Report did not even mention that Harshad had already made unconditional offers to meet all his obligations.
On 26.10.1993 Harshad and all family members and corporate entities promoted by them filed before Hon’ble Special Court MA 215 of 1993 joining all the creditors and furnished a repayment plan to meet their claims which was not accepted by the banks and hence the said application was withdrawn. Even after demise of HSM I have made further efforts to discharge the obligations of HSM and offered reasonable terms but unfortunately even my subsequent efforts have failed because the banks were not giving credit for monies/assets owed by them to HSM and also wanted to charge heavy interest payable till repayment even after Hon’ble Special Court on 20.02.1995 laid down the law that no interest or penalty is leviable on solvent notified person post their notification. I am pleased to enclose a list giving particulars and summary of offers made by Harshad and me to our potential creditors to quickly resolve the issues and as per legal advice received by us such offers could have been made by us only on ‘Without Prejudice’ basis until the negotiated settlement was arrived at.
However, the public and the financial system fell prey to false reporting of Ms. Sucheta Dalal and hype and hysteria created by her to somehow bring the stock market down.
We are aggrieved that the regulators and investigating authorities instead of controlling/minimizing the damage has only magnified it and in fact competed with each other to exaggerate the problem exposure figures which caused havoc and a meltdown in prices and inflicted huge losses on the investors. it was falsely alleged that due to Harshad Banks will suffer losses of Rs.5000 Crores but the real truth has since emerged that the banks have already been completely paid the principal amount of Rs.1716.07 Crores in respect of ex-parte decrees obtained by them though the decrees are for much higher amounts and they are challenged by me before Hon’ble Supreme Court and even though the decree holder banks are still holding onto assets of Harshad S Mehta. The above figures are exaggerated since no credit in regard to Harshad’s claim and counter claim has been given to him which will drastically reduce the problem exposure figures to less than even Rs. 500 crores. Conclusive facts have also emerged that several banks including NHB and SBI were found to be holding money market securities belonging to Harshad, many of which were confirmed by RBI in its letters addressed to the Custodian after undertaking inspection of several banks and its records. In several cases the securities belonging to Harshad yet remain pending to be recovered due to dishonest stands taken by the banks and collusion of Custodian with them by not recovering his assets and to take advantage of his sudden demise in jail on 30.12.2001.
An environment of distrust and fear psychosis was created in the money market and what was possible to be resolved immediately has remained unresolved till today due to litigation and an adversarial approach adopted by all the players. The payment which was offered by Harshad in 1992 to the banks has taken 30 years to be paid as the Income Tax department jumped in the fray and by acting mala-fide took away all the monies by making false claims so that Harshad is denied his surplus assets and return to the market. The banks also refused to resolve when Harshad once again filed MA 215 of 1993 before Hon’ble Special Court offering a plan of repayment as they wanted to even earn interest and claim damages from Harshad.
The Custodian and banks also colluded after the sudden demise of Harshad as instead of contesting the false claims of banks and securing credit for Harshad’s counterclaims or recovering his assets from them, the banks obtained ex-parte decrees bearing interest of 15% to 18% p.a. even though the law was laid down by Hon'ble Special Court duly upheld by Hon'ble Supreme Court that no interest or penalty should be levied on notified entities after attachment of their assets and their notification by the Custodian. While large amounts were deployed by the Custodian in Fixed Deposits earning 3% to 6% p.a. taxable interest or blocked with the IT department huge amount of Rs 3285.46 crores, the interest on decrees of 15% to 18% p.a. was allowed to run against Harshad so that he becomes liable to pay interest between Rs.30 to 50 lacs per day and in this manner, over the years he becomes bankrupt despite having complete ability to meet all his obligations ever since 1992. Because of enormous efforts made by me, now the entire principal amount of Rs.1716.07 Crores claimed by banks already stands paid to them and now we are very happy that we have fulfilled Harshad’s wishes.
From 2006 onwards I gradually discovered the fraud and mischief played by SBI and custodian acting in collusion with each other. Upon inspection of records I discovered that Rs. 590.83 crores which was already paid by custodian to SBI was not accounted for and credit for the amount was deliberately not given even by SBI. Therefore I filed before Hon’ble Special Court MA 114 of 2007 against custodian to explain why the credit of such a large amount of Rs 590.83 Crores was not given by custodian to Harshad and why SBI obtained decree for higher amounts without giving the credit. The custodian strongly opposed this application by filing 2 affidavits on 29.01.2008 & 30.05.2008 stating that no credit of Rs. 590.83 crores was required to be given to Harshad and the copy of my above application and custodian’s replies are enclosed.
When I made serious allegations of fraud and collusion perpetrated by SBI and custodian in my civil appeal filed before Hon’ble Supreme Court & when Hon’ble Supreme court issued a notice to SBI under orders dated 18.10.2010, the SBI for the fear of being exposed immediately but after a lapse of eight years filed before Hon’ble Special Court MA 36 of 2011 and in para 23 & 24 of this Application offered to retrospectively give credit to Rs. 592.49 Crores to Harshad retrospectively from 2003 onwards to cover 3 Civil appeals filed by me. Following this on 15th of June 2011 SBI also addressed a letter to custodian behind my back to give credit of the above amount of Rs. 592.49 crores. The custodian immediately changed his stand and revised the liabilities of Harshad which came down by more than Rs. 1500 crores taking into account even the effect of interest on the above amount Rs. 592.49 crores. This is only one of the examples of the fraud & collusion that has been perpetrated by SBI and custodian to take full advantage of the sudden demise of Harshad and my inability to defend him for some years post his demise when ex-parte decrees obtained by SBI by active collusion and support of custodian. The above Application and document are enclosed. I all along bonafide believe that custodian would have represented the interest of Harshad since it was his statutory duty to do so but to my horror later discovered several such acts of fraud and collusion. I am therefore contesting the decrees before Hon’ble Supreme Court of above Rs. 1716.07 crores and I am hopeful securing justice from the highest court of the land.
In the meantime, the investors who purchased the shares and held on to them have seen an abnormal appreciation in their value as was forecasted by Harshad and the shares purchased by our family members have also appreciated much more than the indices. The best evidence on the performance of our investments was adduced before Hon'ble Courts to counter the allegation of Custodian that how housewives could have investments running into crores and it was alleged that they were mere beneficiaries of diversion by Harshad to them. We demonstrably established that the investments made by two housewives viz. Smt Rasila Mehta and Smt Rina Mehta have appreciated much more sharply after Harshad’s demise on 30.12.2001 and therefore he had played no role in sharp appreciation of hundreds of crores. These housewives purchased shares at much lower cost and had paid both the brokerage and interest at normal rates to the 3 brokerage firms in the family. In support of our contention we have adduced 2 charts before Hon’ble Court. However a summary of sharp appreciation is presented below.
No of Times
No of Times
The dormant portfolio of Smt Rasila Mehta appreciated by 5.06 times in a period of 4 years between 2003 to 2007 and by 8.58 times in 8 years and 3 months between 2003 and 2011 which is excluding the dividend income. In the case of Smt Rina Mehta, it is 4.68 and 8.38 times for the same period. The above conclusively vindicates the extremely bullish forecast made by Harshad and above results are achieved despite Sucheta bringing the markets down for almost 4 years.
Harshad always advocated stock selection based on research which we carried out extensively and on which basis he was extremely bullish on the future of this country and his vision and belief are proved right. No price rigging was done by Harshad except that he was early and perhaps alone and the market was not a bubble as falsely alleged by Ms. Sucheta Dalal, RBI Governor and others. The real power of Indian equity and intelligent investing can create enormous amount of wealth as demonstrated above. India is and will remain a heaven for investors and we must all put our savings by investing in the market and become prosperous. Harshad brought so many investors to the market by explaining its potential but all the good work done by him was reversed and undone by Ms. Sucheta Dalal who drove investors out of the market by creating false panic. It should be appreciated that this country needs capital for rapid growth and it can be supplied in abundance by domestic investors themselves in whose hands the wealth should be created instead of foreign investors reaping enormous gains. I am extremely happy to see that lot of savers are now taking to investing albeit after 30 years which will galvanize growth and reduce our dependence on the supply of capital by the foreigners and this will only ensure that the wealth so created remains within the country and in the hands of domestic investors. The modern day Kohinoor should remain property of Indians.
I say that Harshad’s defence is well-recorded in the interviews conducted by Shri Pritish Nandy which were put on YouTube and I am pleased to share the same. Each of his assertions publicly made by him 1992-93 have now turned out to be totally true and the same can be easily verified from the facts and evidence now placed by me largely in the form of unimpeachable orders of Hon’ble Court. It is thus only the investors who sold the shares under the false scare mischievously created by Ms. Sucheta Dalal have suffered huge losses and therefore the Padma Shri awarded to her needs to be withdrawn as she was responsible for putting this country and its investors behind by a few decades. The real tragedy is that she has portrayed herself as a paragon of virtue but has herself never abided by the rules of responsible journalism and ethics involved in it which were binding upon her. In fact, I am also pleased to share the relevant pages of code of conduct which responsible journalists are liable to follow and it can be seen therefrom that she has violated the said code with impunity to earn personal glory and several perquisites which goes with it. Only recently she also attempted to bring down the stock prices of the Adani Group but did not meet with any success. Though she champions the cause of the investors but incapable of forecasting the market and by imposing her views she has only inflicted losses on the investors but personally earned the Padma Shri and continues to encash the name of my husband, Harshad by selling the rights on her book eventhough it is completely erroronous as will be explained by me.
In fact, Harshad had a constraint in granting interviews such as those given to Shri Pritish Nandy as several criminal cases were instituted against him and he was cautioned by the lawyers not to reveal his defence since criminal trials were still pending but Harshad was fearless and truly spoke his mind. He also made detailed presentations before the Joint Parliamentary Committee two of which I am sharing with all of you. He fearlessly asserted after his deposition before JPC that it was neither a securities scam nor stock scam but was truly a ‘Citibank scam’ which had systematically milked several Indian banks for years through its loyal set of brokers. Harshad was therefore chosen by the other banks to counter their monopoly and his rapid rise deeply hurt some established players and bruised their ego which created a holy nexus between them, the Income Tax department and the other regulators to unitedly work to finish Harshad.
When Sucheta Dalal carried a story in TOI on 23.04.1992 without naming Harshad she already knew that there were no outstanding as within 4 days by 21.04.1992 Harshad had already repaid Rs. 616.67 crores to SBI the details of which are given in the enclosed chart. The same are also admitted on pages 12, 13 & 14 of her book written with her husband titled “The Scam who won, who lost, who got away”. In fact, on 24.04.1992 the Chairman of SBI, Shri M.N. Goiporia publicly clarified through the Economic Times as under:
“that the reconciliation problem which had arisen regarding the purchase of Government securities by its investment department had been sorted out with the outstandings squared up. As of today, there are no outstandings”.
The relevant media clipping of the report in Economic Times dated 24.04.1992 is enclosed. If Ms. Sucheta Dalal was an honest and truthful journalist she would have corrected her false story of 23.04.1992 but failed to do so because she was governed by mala fide object of finishing Harshad. Even in the above book Harshad is referred to a as a scamster even though criminal trials were pending and he was not proven guilty. In fact SBI never filed any FIR against Harshad before CBI. But she gave a further twist by alleging that there should be a probe of how Harshad made the payment to SBI by raising monies from NHB. Ms. Sucheta Dalal had an obligation to first admit that her headline article of 23.04.1992 published in TOI reporting problem exposure of Rs.500 Crores was false since on that day Harshad owed no monies to SBI but infact SBI owed some amount to Harshad.
So biased was the trial by media which created huge hype and hysteria and vicious environment that every transaction of Harshad was given a colour of criminality and every crediting of cheque in his bank account was treated as an offence even though the Rules, Regulations and Bye-laws of BSE which governed Harshad permitted it. Besides above Harshad was given routing facilities by several banks to undertake his transactions but this age-old market practice was overnight derecognized by RBI after allowing it for several years. This is despite the fact that even the law always recognizes the customs, usages and prevalent market practices. Transactions that were completed by Harshad in which banks and PSUs had made profits and monies were already repaid, CBI still registered 21 criminal cases without the banks and PSU’s making any complaint. 21 out of 25 cases were registered by CBI without receiving any complaints from banks or PSU a list of which is provided.
That purely civil transactions were deliberately given a colour of criminality by Ms. Sucheta Dalal and thereafter by CBI completely ignoring the following:
That banks and PSUs in terms of Securities Contract Regulations Act, 1956 and as per the notifications issued therein could not undertake any transactions in listed Government securities, PSU Bonds and Units of UTI without engaging the services of a registered member of the stock exchange. Therefore, M/s. Harshad S. Mehta was engaged for undertaking such transactions.
That all contracts entered into by M/s. Harshad S. Mehta with banks and PSUs were reduced to writing and the same were strictly governed by the Rules, Regulations and Bye-laws of BSE framed in 1957 and the relevant Bye-laws are enclosed.
In terms of these Bye-laws, M/s. Harshad S. Mehta entered into transactions also on principal-to- principal basis (self-account) and most of the transactions were entered into by M/s. Harshad S. Mehta on that basis. That there was no legal requirement or necessity to disclose the counter party and in any case M/s. Harshad S. Mehta himself was a counter party. Only on the date of delivery M/s. Harshad S. Mehta used to provide the name of the delivering/receiving bank on his behalf and which was in accordance with Bye-law 81. However, it was later discovered that the banks and PSUs in their books were showing M/s. Harshad S. Mehta as broker and his receiving and delivering bank as counterparty or putting any name as counterparty for its record. The CBI has levelled allegations on the basis of such false records of banks and PSUs in regard to the counterparties to allege that instead of receiving monies/securities from counterparties, the monies were diverted and illegally credited into the account of M/s. Harshad S. Mehta and for sustaining this presumption the CBI never brought Rules, Regulations and Bye-laws of BSE on the record in the chargesheets filed before Hon’ble Courts despite knowing that M/s. Harshad S. Mehta was governed by it and not by Private & Confidential circulars issued by RBI on banks and by Ministry on PSUs.
That in terms of Bye-law 230, M/s. Harshad S. Mehta was not bound to accept any of the instructions or orders issued by its clients in completing the performance of contracts and in terms of Bye-law 244 the clients of M/s. Harshad S. Mehta had an option to close out any contract not performed by M/s. Harshad S. Mehta. Failure to perform any contract did not amount to any illegality much less any criminal offence as propagated by Ms. Sucheta Dalal. As per Bye-law 159, if M/s. Harshad S. Mehta failed to deliver the security the client had a right to seek refund of money as sought by SBI on 11.04.1992. As per Bye-law 81, it was the discretion of M/s. Harshad S. Mehta to decide how and in what manner the contract will be performed. It is only in view of the above legal position the banks did not file any criminal complaint against M/s. Harshad S. Mehta save and except in 4 cases and out of these 4 cases one was registered under advice of CBI.
The Hon’ble Special Court has passed several orders taking judicial notice of falsity of the records of banks and their illegal and dishonest conduct of usurping the attached assets of M/s. Harshad S. Mehta. Copies of these orders are also enclosed.
The Hon’ble Special Court also took judicial notice of the fact that the banks were offering “routing facility” to brokers to undertake their transactions.
SBI had offered to Harshad as his prime client the above ‘routing facility’ in which against the pay orders presented by him the bank issued pay orders and this facilty was extended to Harshad under his letters dated 19.08.1991 & dated 10.01.1992 copies of which letters alongwith remarks of senior officials of SBI granting the facility are enclosed. That Harshad had filed a detailed affidavit explaining routing facility and how SBI had usurped his assets in the proceedings in MA 185 of 1993 through affidavit dated 4.3.1996. That even RBI which was aware of the existence of such routing facilities offered by several banks to their broker clients and therefore sought to regulate it by a private and confidential circular dated 26.07.1991. Even after adverse media reports the RBI issued a Circular on 09.09.1992 on the crediting of cheques, a copy of which is enclosed. This circular was issued by RBI to cover up its own failure of stopping this practice prevalent for decades in the money market. Further, it can be seen from the above circular that RBI still did not ban the practice but only issued a caution against it by advising as under:
"If any bank credits the account of a constituent who is not the payee named in the cheque without the proper mandate of the drawer, it does so at its own risk and will be responsible for the unauthorized payment”.
Even if the contracts remained pending the same could only amount to a civil dispute and not a crime. The above legal position got conclusively established even under the Torts Act when the Hon’ble Supreme Court laid down the law in the case of BOI Finance Vs Custodian reported as (1997) 10 SCC 488 where it was held that violation by the banks of such Confidential RBI Circulars would not invalidate the contracts entered into by the banks with the brokers. For the violations committed by the banks and the PSUs with the object of making profits, the blame could not be put on to Harshad as he had no knowledge about the confidential circulars and was acting only as per the law governing his brokerage firm.
Once again in 2008, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of S. Mohan Vs CBI reported as (2008) 7 SCC 1 held that charges of criminal breach of trust, conspiracy and of receiving stolen property cannot sustain if the banks did not file any criminal complaint and acquitted the accused. Harshad after his arrest on 04.06.1992 suffered custody and jail of 111 days and was released under stringent bail conditions which required him to attend CBI every day. He could not undertake any travel without the prior permission of Hon’ble Court and was barred from attending office or meeting his employees. He regularly attended Hon’ble Courts for 9 years that he was alive and offered himself for criminal trials and except one, none of which were conducted. Due to the above Harshad lived a very restricted life for 9 years. Despite giving complete co-operation he was not proved guilty by CBI during these 9 years and the allegations of siphoning of monies from the banks were never proved but yet he received the highest punishment of death in jail without being proved guilty. I humbly urge that he deserved the benefit of the law of this land that “every person is innocent until he is proved guilty”. The majesty of law says that “even if 99 guilty persons go scot-free but one innocent person should not be wrongly held guilty”. It was only the media which has held him guilty.
In the above background, our family thought that his sudden demise will bring closure and even satisfy his detractors including those who were baying for his blood. After his demise, the criminal cases against him abated as it was no longer possible to prove him guilty. I am therefore pained to see that the media and the movies yet refer to him as a scamster while commercially exploiting his name through a completely false story. Surprisingly, Ms. Sucheta Dalal’s methods and techniques have not changed at all even after passage of 30 years as she makes veiled attacks without naming the persons presumptively making comments and allegations and then goes scot-free and receives even Padma Shri in this country. Only recently I have come across the following tweet:
Sucheta Dalal (@suchetadalal)
Does finance ministry and SEBI check the brazen ramping of one particular group’s stocks? Or are we sleeping? How come richest and 2nd richest never squeal against one another? A former scamster operating from LONDON having a ball. We talk about investigation & governance!
However, the trials in criminal cases after Harshad’s demise continued against his brothers before Hon’ble Special Court, Mumbai under the Torts Act which got over by the year 2018. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has also given its verdict in almost all cases in which sentences have been reduced to ‘time spent’ and fines have been collected. This country follows a great tradition of not speaking ill against the deceased because they are not available to defend themselves. We thought that the circumstances and the manner in which Harshad died even the adverse writings against him will stop. However the web series and a movie based on falsehoods have created a strong curiosity to find out the real truth and several querries have been received by my family and therefore I have been compelled to present the true facts with supporting proofs to the public since Harshad is not available to defend himself. The public are supreme judges and I owe it to you all to share all the facts and information which is in my possession particularly since the media has not covered it. The web series has also ended with the demise of Harshad. I wish that he is not vilified further as he had not committed any crime and certainly he was not a scamster as can be easily ascertained from all the subsequent events which are narrated by me. I have no desire to get into any limelight or to engage with the media and only therefore I thought of creating a website “www.harshadmehta.in” through which I directly present to the public the facts and evidence in my possession. I hope my efforts will be seen in their proper perspective.
In support of my allegations that civil transactions were given a colour of criminality and non-delivery of security did not amount to a crime, I am relying upon a judgment delivered by Hon'ble Special Court in a criminal case instituted by CBI against Harshad and his younger brother Sudhir. The Hon’ble Special Court after examining the evidence adduced by CBI passed an order on 06.09.2013 in Special Case No.4 of 1998 being CBI Vs S.K. Kumar, a copy of which is enclosed. In the above case, the Hon'ble Special Court has held that after receipt of money deposited in the account of Harshad if the securities are not delivered by his brokerage firm, the same does not amount to any criminal offence and the relevant portions of the judgment are reproduced below:
Para 28: "The Accused have neither disputed in principle the transactions which have taken place nor the documents which have been produced on record. All the investors who had invested their amounts in a short term deposit with SBICAP have also stated that upon being advised by SBI to invest in SBICAP to get better returns they accordingly had given instructions to their SBI Main Branch in which they had Accounts to transfer certain sums of money to SBICAP. The four transactions mentioned hereinabove indicate that amounts of these investors were debited from their Accounts in SBI Main Branch and on two occasions these sums were routed back to the personal Current Account of Mr. Harshad S. Mehta through SBICAP. So far as the brokers are concerned, contract notes were issued on the letterhead of Harshad S. Mehta which also was bearing the Logo of GRAM and the contract notes mentioned the amount which was received and the ready forward transaction viz purchase of securities in the form of units of Unit Trust and the subsequent date of sale of the said units after one month and in one case after 15 days at an assured return price at the end of 30 days or 15 days respectively. The contract notes were signed by Sudhir S. Mehta – Accused No.4 (Original Accused No.5). Though it is alleged that there was a breach of RBI guidelines or SEBI guidelines in respect of how the said ready forward transactions were to be entertained, the prosecution did not bring on record any such RBI guidelines or SEBI guidelines which stated that at the time of entering into such transactions either physical securities or Bank Receipts have to be procured. As such the prosecution based on evidence which has been brought on record has been unable to show that the agreement in respect of ready forward transaction was illegal in any manner whatsoever either in terms of RBI guidelines or SEBI guidelines or according to the Working Paper on Investment Management Services dated 7th June, 1991 circulated amongst the executives of SBICAP. The prosecution, therefore, firstly, has not established that these transactions by themselves were illegal in any manner whatsoever or that non-production of securities or BRs was prohibited by law. Therefore both these ingredients viz "agreement to do an illegal act or to do an act which is not illegal in itself but is done by illegal means" have not been established by the prosecution. There is no material on record to establish that Harshad S. Mehta had an intention of not returning the amount which was sought to be invested through him as a broker who was registered at Bombay Stock Exchange. On the contrary, the evidence which has come on record indicates that in the past before these four transactions, State Bank of India and SBICAP had entered into ready forward transactions through Harshad S. Mehta and all these transactions had been successfully completed and were executed on the same lines as these four transactions.” (emphasis supplied)
In Harshad's case covered by Ms. Sucheta Dalal, Harshad paid Rs.616.07 Crores to SBI in 4 days by 22.04.1992 which amounts were then used to purchase the securities and a surplus of Rs.22.57 Crores was still left with SBI. The above conclusions of Hon'ble Special Court completely demolish the allegations of Ms. Sucheta Dalal recklessly made despite having a post-graduation degree in law of LLM. Her book also carries a presumptive title “The Scam who won, who lost, who got away". Her falsehood became the basis of the web series and she is guilty of a criminal offence of libel committed with malicious intent to finish Harshad. She has grossly violated the law and regulations governing journalists.
In support of above I am enclosing SBI’s letter to CBI dated 26.12.1992 confirming that SBI had a surplus of Rs. 22.57 crores after recovering their securities.
Ms. Sucheta Dalal and Shri Debashis Basu have revised and updated their book of 1993 even in the year 2001 wherein it is claimed that extensive revisions and additions were carried out to their book of 1992-93. However, the authors during the past 30 years have not bothered to present the updated picture and the subsequent facts and evidence on Harshad even though they had an obligation to do so. Obviously, they knew that if the true facts were presented, the same would kill the story spun by Ms. Sucheta Dalal to portray Harshad as a criminal. I could only see a couple of interviews of Ms. Sucheta Dalal after the web series where she has completely toned down and in fact either praised him or admitted that every participant in the market was doing what Harshad had done. She yet wants to profit out her book containing false and unproven allegations.
Thus Ms. Sucheta Dalal conducted a trial by media in which she has played all the 3 roles of a “judge, jury and executioner” and thereby inflicted huge losses on the economy and the investors. She was highly opinionated and always superimposed her opinions by presenting false facts. She lacked exprtise in forecasting the market and took full advantage of the fact that it is so very easy to spread fear and panic in public who were gullible.
Our team of researchers came to the conclusion that the Government was bound to introduce reforms under the pressure from World Bank and after our country had already pledged gold. We therefore researched and examined the effect of reforms in other countries and discovered that in almost all cases the reforms resulted into a runaway boom in stock prices. The intent to introduce bold reforms was confirmed in 1991 itself when Govt. sharply devalued our currency and introduced an immunity scheme to invite foreign currency. Despite the first bold steps taken by the Government the market did not respond for a considerable period of time till the dream budget was presented on 29.02.1992. The market thus gave ample time to buy stocks at their historic low levels but the gloom continued to prevail despite unmistakable signals of bold reforms. It is widely known and now well established beyond doubt that 1991-92 presented to the investors an exceptional opportunity to buy the shares at extremely low rates when the BSE Sensex was hovering only between 900 to 1400 which post-budget climbed to 4487 at its peak in April 1992. If it was a bubble it would not have risen to current level of 57,000 and experts are now forecasting a level for sensex of 1,00,000. In these 30 years the blue-chip stocks have risen between 50 to 100 times from the prices that were prevailing in 1992. Now let public decide whether Harshad rigged the market or Sucheta and RBI Governor brought the markets down and put the country and investors behind by several years.
I also fondly remember how excited Harshad was on the day of budget on 29.02.1992 just one day after we were raided by the IT department which raid was continuing but he still went to the trading hall to offer his comments to the Door Darshan when he quipped that “India was a turnaround scrip on the global stock exchange.” Harshad virtually rose from the slums of Mumbai and this city of dreams gave him breaks. God was very kind to reward our efforts and the wealth created by Harshad and our family by no means is ill-gotten. “We are a product of a historic time” when bold reforms were introduced just when there was gloom all around and stock prices were extremely low and attractive which enabled the acquisition of large quantities. Our business was computerized even when we were just sub-brokers and followed modern business practices and built up a vibrant organization that paid rich dividends to us. There have been many firsts to our credit.
I must also clarify that the perpendicular rise in the BSE index from 2800 prevailing on 29.02.1992 till it reached a level of 4487 by mid-April was entirely attributable to Dr. Manmohan Singh and the dream budget presented by him since in that rally Harshad did not contribute as he was already suffering the Income Tax raid and the seizure of his computers and records. Had it not been for Ms. Sucheta Dalal’s story on 23rd April 1992 tainting the above bull run, the Government of the day would have been very happy to take full credit both for the pre and post-budget rise in the market which was directly the result of the bold and historic reforms introduced by the Government since November 1991 onwards.
False allegations were also levelled against Harshad that he manipulated the prices of ACC and took them to dizzy heights beyond Rs.10,000/-. For the record, I want to clarify that based on the research carried out by our team we started purchasing the shares of ACC from a level of Rs.300/- and effected most of the purchases by Rs.3000/-. The stock thereafter touched Rs.10,000/- but Harshad never recommended any small investor to buy shares of ACC at that level. The bears who had heavily short sold shares of ACC were compelled to square up even at Rs.10,000/- per share. However, even if an investor had bought the shares of ACC at Rs.10,000/- the stock has performed fairly well in the last 30 years that after taking into account the benefits of rights and bonus shares and split shares issued the equivalent price today works out to Rs.80,326/- per share and it continues to be a promising investment even today.
I deny the often-repeated allegation against Harshad that he took advantage of the loopholes prevailing in the system and that he got issued forged Banker’s Receipts (BRs). Harshad never invented any new practice and carried his business as per Rules, Regulations and Bye-laws of BSE which alone governed him. There were no loopholes in the system nor did he ever take any advantage of them. He has also never got issued any forged BRs which is a false allegation only made by the media. No BRs in respect of transactions undertaken by Harshad had remained outstanding nor any allegations about forged BRs levelled by CBI against Harshad or ever proved in any of the trials instituted by it. In fact, Harshad was holding several BRs for securities purchased by his brokerage firm when his business halted in May 1992. The instrument of BR was devised by Indian Banking Association (IBA) as the bulk of the transactions were short-term and Ready Forward transactions for which the market participants did not want to actually receive/deliver physical securities. The BRs clearly specified that the securities will be delivered as and when they are ready and the guidelines framed by IBA and a sample BR is enclosed. Kindly also see RBI Circular to banks dated 26.07.1991 where RBI has falted the banks and issued guidelines.
In support of my allegations against Ms. Sucheta Dalal, I am also pleased to enclose the relevant extracts of her book written with her husband Shri Debashis Basu in which several admission are made by them which support my contentions.
Subsequent write-ups and events:
I say that since the web series ended with demise of Harshad on 30.12.2001, we have received several queries to seek truth and also what has transpired with the family in past 21 years since there is very little known in the public domain and because we have never made any statements to the media as per the decision of our family. Several crucial facts have emerged only after his demise and the family has also taken steps to contest false claims and allegations and towards fulfilling the wishes of Harshad. His death brought upon our family a wave of several patently illegal and high-handed actions from authorities, particularly upto 2014 during the Congress regime as a backlash to revelations of truth by Harshad about meeting convened by Shri Narasimha Rao, the then Prime Minister facts relating to which are set out hereinafter. Number of facts have got conclusively established in numerous proceedings before Hon’ble Courts during these 21 years and all the subsequent facts only vindicate what Harshad had publicly stated through his written representations as also an interview granted to Shri Pritish Nandy. To the best of my ability I am now dealing with them.
The allegations that because of Harshad the banks will suffer losses of Rs.5000 Crores and all other such figures are proved completely baseless. Harshad had offered to unconditionally meet all his obligations and time and again stated that banks will not suffer a penny because of him but his unconditional offers of payment since 1992 have not been accepted and the banks wanted to recover more by claiming interest at abnormally high rate of 15% to 18% p.a. levied on him for past 30 years even though the amounts remained under attachment and huge losses suffered by Mehtas. Despite settled law that interest is not leviable after attachment of Harshad’s assets on 08.06.1992 the Custodian after Harshad’s demise never contested the exaggerated and false claims of banks including for interest even though they were not entitled to it both in fact and in law. The decrees are presently under challenge before Hon’ble Supreme Court but yet the entire principal amount of Rs.1716.07 Crores already stands paid to banks. Thus, banks will not lose a penny even though Mehtas have suffered losses of more than Rs.20,677.28 Crores and other losses.
That our family had a liability to pay tax of not more than Rs.100 Crores but as explained before false claims of Rs.30,000 Crores were foisted on the family and these claims were largely made immediately after revelations made by Harshad about Shri Narasimha Rao. It is apparent that Income Tax department has been used to persecute Mehtas by levy of false claims so that entire Mehta family remains entangled and none of us can come back in the business. Against the above false claims, Rs.3285.46 Crores was released largely by 2011 and the then Government has treated them falsely in its book as recoveries of taxes but now the present Government is saddled with the liability to make huge refunds.
We have brought down the false claims from Rs.30,000 Crores to about Rs.4000 Crores by winning more than 1200 cases which has taken us almost 30 years as 3 rounds of assessments took place because the false additions were resurrected in complete violation of orders of higher authorities. The balance demands would also not survive once our pending appeals are heard. In the meantime, reluctantly and after several years of delay and due to intervention of Hon’ble Supreme Court the I.T. department has refunded Rs.814.33 Crores to Custodian and further refunds of more than Rs.5500 Crores are already overdue and not being paid for few years. Thus, the Income Tax department has levied taxes illegally, then illegally collected Rs.3285.46 Crores and now illegally enjoying the monies even after deletion of its demands thereby persecuting Mehtas and also defeating the objects of the Torts Act and incurring liability to pay interest though totally avoidable. Article 265 of the Constitution stands fully violated by the illegalities committed by the Income Tax department.
Huge losses have also been inflicted upon Mehtas of Rs.20,677.28 Crores by premature and completely illegal sale of all their investments in immovable properties and largely in shares of blue-chip companies which was liquidated by the Custodian only in order to release monies to the I.T. department and banks even though it was in complete violation of the law laid down by Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Harshad Shantilal Mehta Vs Custodian reported as (1998) 5 SCC 1 and even though in violation of provisions of the Income Tax Act and the decrees obtained by the banks against the estate of late Shri Harshad Mehta.
The above illegalities have been committed by the Custodian acting in collusion with I.T. department and banks and by presenting completely false assets and liabilities picture by understating our assets and overstating our liabilities. This false picture is used to justify several coercive steps of selling our assets, denying release of monies for our livelihood and to defend our legal interest, for premature release of monies before crystallisation of liabilities and to propound ‘Harshad Mehta Group theory’ canvassing that we should all be treated as ‘one entity’.
The Custodian has been governed by several ulterior objects such as to persecute Mehtas, to maximise assets under his control by notifying innocent family members and corporate entities and then to use their assets to reward I.T. department, banks and third parties at their expense, to indefinitely delay distribution amongst creditors by promoting litigation and by deliberately not recovering the attached assets and finally to ensure continuance of his office. All the above objects have been achieved successfully for past 30 years as there is no transparency and no accountability in the functioning of the Office of the Custodian.
The Custodian claims that he does not take any decisions by himself and deals with the attached assets as per the orders of Hon’ble Special Court but yet has taken all the following momentous decisions:
Even when Harshad has requested the Custodian to recover his assets, the Custodian has failed to take action and not placed the facts before Hon’ble Special Court for its orders.
The Custodian is regularly violating even the law laid down by Hon’ble Supreme Court through several of its judgments and has also failed to make compliance with express directions given to him. Wherever he is required to secure compliance from the Income Tax department and banks with these judgments, the Custodian has failed to do so and in this manner decided to deny us the benefit of the law laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and thereby achieve his ulterior objects listed earlier.
In violation of law laid down by Hon’ble Supreme Court, the Custodian framed a scheme governing sale of shares and canvassed that our shares should be sold without waiting for crystallisation of our liabilities and whether or not there existed any liabilities and then very rapidly sold our shares in violation of the said scheme to inflict losses of Rs.20,677.28 Crores on us. After selling our assets to meet the false claims of I.T. department, now we have established the falsity of claims and proved that our assets were not liable to be sold at all since each one of us have huge surplus of assets over liabilities. Even after proving this and acting vengefully the Custodian continues to sell our shares. Thus, the Government says that our country will emerge as a superpower and the whole world is investing money in the Indian equities the Custodian is extremely bearish and wants to liquidate the best of our investments at throw-away prices.
That vast claims of recovery against SBI and SBI Caps have been withdrawn and compromised by the Custodian for recovery of attached assets of Harshad from these institutions after his sudden demise in judicial custody.
After taking orders from Hon’ble Special Court for recovery of attached assets of Mehtas the Custodian himself in atleast 100 cases has decided not to recover the attached assets of about Rs.5000 Crores by not complying with the above orders of Hon’ble Special Court and thereby dealt with the attached assets.
In 10 cases of recovery from other notified entities of several hundreds of crores of attached shares and accruals belonging to Mehtas, the Custodian has deliberately transferred their assets into the account of other notified entities and not complied with the orders of Hon’ble Special Court. Thus, the most easy task of recovering from other notified entities have not been performed by Custodian in almost all cases to hurt Mehtas and give benefit to others. The Custodian has allowed some of these notified entities to get denotified by suppressing the facts from Hon’ble Special Court about pending recovery of Mehtas from them.
In the year 2005, Custodian took orders from Hon’ble Special Court to proceed with the distribution by inviting claims against us and Public Notice was issued. However, after claims were received, the Custodian himself decided not to proceed with the distribution.
That the Income Tax department and the banks are supposed to defend their own legal interest and the Custodian is supposed to defend the notified entities so as to preserve, protect and augment their attached assets. The Custodian is required to contest the false claims of I.T. department and the banks so that no genuine creditors suffer but instead of discharging his above statutory duty the Custodian has been colluding with the I.T. department and the banks by sacrificing the interest of notified entities. In essence, the Custodian has switched and swapped his role from discharging his statutory duties to that of promoting at all costs the interest of I.T. department and banks.
In violation of the provisions of the Income Tax Act and the decrees obtained by the banks, the Custodian has canvassed for their benefit ‘Harshad Mehta Group theory’ to take away the assets of family members and corporate entities for meeting the claims of Harshad, a concept unknown to law.
For years, records and facts relating to their attached assets have not been made available to Mehtas so that they cannot find out about mismanagement of their attached assets by Custodian and only under directions of Hon’ble Supreme Court some of the records were made available in the year 2006 from when Mehtas discovered the facts relating to several illegalities committed by the Custodian. However, till date several facts and evidence is still suppressed because of which it has taken years to discover the facts of pending recoveries and compliance and on that basis corrective steps have been taken. We have therefore recovered our attached assets of more than Rs.3000 Crores and several recoveries still remain pending and are being vigorously pursued.
Whenever applications are filed to seek discovery of facts and evidence in possession of Custodian, the same are opposed and our efforts are thwarted by withholding those facts and documents which can expose the Custodian. in fact, several false and misleading reports and affidavits are filed by the Custodian before Hon’ble Special Court and each time we expose the illegal conduct, the Custodian then goes after the family revengefully to hurt them in several ways including what is described above.
The Custodian has deliberately not devised any system of seeking extension of time to make compliance with the orders of Hon’ble Special Court nor does he file any Status Reports disclosing the progress in compliance and facts of pending recoveries so that he can then take decisions to deal with the attached assets and decide whether or not to make compliance with the orders of Hon’ble Special Court without getting exposed. There is therefore no accountability or transparency in the functioning of the Custodian.
In support of above, I can produce huge amount of unimpeachable and irrefutable evidence secured by me over the years and if challenged can be produced by me. However, to the extent possible and within the limitations a part of it is adduced in the present website.
That no amounts were found to be owed by Harshad to any PSUs and not a single PSU has lodged any claim on Harshad. The allegation that monies belonging to PSUs were used to drive stock prices have never been proved by CBI.
After discovering the failures of Custodian, from 2006 onwards we have ourselves recovered attached assets of more than Rs.3000 Crores and further recoveries of Rs.5000 Crores are underway. We have repeatedly secured orders from Hon’ble Special Court and Hon’ble Supreme Court against the Custodian for recovery of our attached assets but yet they have also not been complied with by the Custodian. We rely upon order dated 04.01.2013 in MA 13 and 14 of 2011, orders dated 23.12.2016, 17.03.2017 and 15.12.2017 in MA 8 of 2016 and order dated 08.05.2017 of Hon’ble Supreme Court passed in CA 6326 of 2010. The biggest recovery of 1.79 Crore shares of Apollo Tyres was caused by Ashwin Mehta under the judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Ashwin S. Mehta Vs Union of India reported as (2012) 1 SCC 83 and further efforts are underway to recover vast quantities of shares.
That all along Harshad's assets were sufficient to meet all the claims against him and no justification ever existed to attach the assets of all his family members and the corporate entities since they have not violated any law of the land. Having attached their assets and to keep control over them by perpetuating their notification, the Custodian has since propagated that all the entities should be treated as ‘one entity’ as Harshad Mehta Group.
All our offices were housing substantial records but we were asked to vacate them in 48 hours. Since then, each of the entities to whom the offices belonged have contested the false claims and established a huge surplus of assets over liabilities but now these offices have gone permanently.
So much is written about by media regarding our Madhuli flats and Lexus car. Being a joint family of 4 brothers and a widow mother we purchased 9 small flats in April-May 1990 for Rs.3.90 Crores and merged together and living there. To uproot us and put us on road, the first Petition filed by Custodian vindictively even before our liabilities could get crystallized being MP 41 of 1999 which was ferociously contested by Custodian but Hon’ble Supreme Court saved us 3 times as explained earlier and therefore we could live as a joint family. Presently, these flats are in very bad shape.
The Lexus was purchased by Harshad for about Rs.45 lakhs which could be afforded as we had large networth. We have never lived beyond our means nor ever adopted a flashy lifestyle. The business was carried out on merits and no charges of corruption are levied or proved against us.
Our properties, movable and immovable including all offices were sold at the behest of Custodian to completely paralyze our organisation so that we are not able to defend our legal interest of false claims on us and baseless allegations put on us.
We have worked ceaselessly despite all our assets remaining under attachment and Custodian opposing our every application for release of reasonable amounts from attachment to defend our legal interest. In most trying circumstances we have already turned around the situation and God willing hope to make further progress. Our constitutional rights to defend ourselves with Advocates and Counsels of our choice remain on paper scuttled by false assets and liabilities picture. But for the fact that Shri Ashwin Mehta after 34 years took out his license to practice and became a member of Bombay High Court Bar and Supreme Court Bar, we would have suffered hugely and gone unrepresented. The Custodian is opposing the release of monies as he would get exposed further and the ‘Harshad Mehta Group theory’ would have got demolished several years ago. Despite bringing down false claims by more than Rs.25,000 Crores and recovering assets of more than Rs.3000 Crores the Custodian has opposed release of fees of even Rs.6 Crores though it will be less than 0.5% of the gains secured by us till date. In essence, the Custodian neither wants to contest the false claims of thousands of crores against us nor wants to recover our attached assets from third parties of thousands of crores nor wants to discharge his statutory duties but only wants continuance of his office. It is abundantly clear that Custodian does not want to discharge his statutory duties nor even wants Mehtas to discharge them on his behalf.
We have also learnt subsequently that the raid on us carried out by the Income Tax department on 28.02.1992 was engineered by Shri Manu Manek who was the informer to the then Dy. Director of Investigation, Shri C.P. Ramaswamy which was by way of a counter move to check Harshad’s growth. In view of above, Harshad was compelled to decide to restrict the delivery of money market securities, both inward and outward during the continuance of Income Tax raid and which was one of the principal cause why securities remained pending to be delivered to SBI. There was a clear apprehension that Income Tax department may even seize vast quantities of securities belonging to clients and to permanently dislocate the securities business of M/s. Harshad S. Mehta. Large number of securities belonging to M/s. Harshad S. Mehta were therefore found to be lying with several banks and post 23.04.1992 the banks holding securities belonging to Harshad did not disclose or handover the same to the Custodian, which fact also is duly recorded by at least 3 letters addressed by RBI to Custodian and even the orders passed by Hon’ble Special Court. It is therefore that even RBI addressed a Circular to all the banks and FI’s on 25.08.1995 to disclose and handover the securities to the Custodian but even the above orders and directive issued by RBI were not complied with by several banks and institutions. It is apprehended that even till date the facts of usurping the securities of M/s. Harshad S. Mehta by banks and FI’s remain to be discovered because they have thwarted every effort made by Harshad and me in tracing and recovering our securities. The above facts only conclusively establish that there was no intent on the part of Harshad to defraud any banks or to commit any crime.
I must also clarify that the web series titled “Scam 1992 the Harshad Mehta story” and the movie “Big Bull” based on Harshad have been made without our consent or approval and without meeting any of the Mehtas though in law they were required to obtain our consent. So we want to once and for all dispel any impression which might have got created in the minds of public that the above series and movie were made with our consent or we have provided any contents of the same.
I say that even therefore I have been compelled to present the true facts and evidence before you. I also wanted to defend Harshad since he is not available to defend himself. This is my first ever communication to the public as by nature I am a very shy and introvert person and in my present effort I have been assisted by my family members. I am also constrained by the fact that even today several proceedings are pending adjudication before Hon'ble Courts and matters are sub-judice and yet I have made sincere efforts to present facts and evidence of 30 years touching upon a very complex subject and I hope my efforts are seen in their proper perspective.
In fact, about 4 years ago, a very reputed actor Shri Anil Kapoor approached us to seek our permission for making a very positive movie on the life of Harshad with leading producers and best star cast and he wanted to act in the lead. He wanted to deeply research the life of Harshad by spending at least a month with our family to collect from us first-hand every fact about Harshad right from his childhood and his life of 47 years. We disappointed him by not giving our consent only keeping with our family policy to remain completely low profile and could only promise to him that if we ever decided on the issue, we will give our consent to him. Now since the web series and Big Bull has been made without our consent, I have broken my silence and presented full facts and evidence for everyone’s benefit so that the history judges my husband in light of true facts.
We are also aggrieved by the fact that the Custodian since 1995 onwards have opposed our applications seeking the release of monies to defend our legal interest of contesting false claims on us and for recovering our attached assets as our efforts have only exposed his illegal conduct and deliberate failures in discharging his statutory duties. The amounts sought by us are less than 1% of the potential benefits and despite being denied the reliefs we have yet achieved substantial success as narrated earlier. I am therefore also sharing the orders passed by Hon’ble Special Court and the copies of my latest application filed before Hon’ble Special Court being MA 15 of 2021. It is extremely challenging to fight for our rights with our hands tied down and with every agency and organs of the “State” acting as our adversary in each and every proceedings. We only hope that someday justice will be bestowed upon our family.
It is ironic that the Custodian does not want to discharge his statutory duties of contesting false claims and does not want to recover our attached assets and also opposes our every positive effort of carrying out those tasks which are primarily required to be carried out by the Custodian. To compound matters, Custodian has done his best to paralyze our organisation, to uproot us from our only residence, had illegally seized for several years our computers and books of accounts which have been obtained back by us, taken away our staff to make them sit in Custodian’s office and then dismissing them within months. The Custodian has violated the law laid down by Hon’ble Supreme Court giving highest priority to recovery of the attached assets in the case of L.S. Synthetics Vs FFSL reported as (2004) 11 SCC 456 wherein a duty is cast upon the Hon’ble Special Court to recover all the attached assets which is possible only if the Custodian or we bring the facts of pending recoveries to the knowledge of the Hon’ble Court. Despite above, the Custodian has not devised any system of reporting the facts of pending recovery as also the facts of pending compliance of the orders of Hon’ble Special Court and now due to our efforts we have conclusively established before Hon’ble Special Court several orders deliberately not complied with by the Custodian for past 30 years.
Harshad was also very transparent in explaining his source of funds which he has truly and fully explained in a letter addressed by him to the IT department on 21st January 1991 when he clarified as under:
Para 2: "My transactions in the Capital and Money markets, especially the latter, resulting in a continuous stream of funds and securities moving in and out. These transactions result in large but transient positive balances in my bank accounts on any given day. Running up of such current liabilities constitutes payables to my clients/constituents which include, inter-alia, corporates and banks. Such funds, though transient in nature, tend to acquire semi-permanency given the daily operations in the Money Market and result in a pool of funds float. This float of funds has been utilized for the acquisition of flats as well as for making investments in shares, pending accrual of income, in future, when such liabilities are automatically washed off. In a point of fact, deferred and future incomes have been financed in advance by the float."
Copy of the above letter is enclosed. Our family members in that year were amongst the highest individual taxpayers of the country.
Besides above, about 30,000 innocent shareholders of a completely independent company, Mazda Industries and Leasing Ltd. (Mazda) have also suffered losses of several hundred crores because this company had to be wound up after suffering high-handed actions of seizure of its assets and freezing of its bank accounts by CBI which paralyzed its business completely. This company had no dealings in Government securities with any banks and had received no claims from any banks but was penalised only because Mehtas were its large shareholders and had made enormous efforts and turnaround the company in the shortest span of time. In the web series, it is falsely shown that Mazda had a very shabby office though factually it was managed by the professionals and renowned tax consultant, Shri H.P. Ranina was its Chairman. The company had already turned around very sharply and earned large profits and had a modern office in one of the best buildings in Nariman Point.
As a family we were anguished the most because of the sufferings caused to our mother, Smt Rasila Mehta, a widow since 1982 who suffered attachment of her assets for 30 years and expired on 26.04.2020 at an age of 84 years without getting justice from Hon'ble Supreme Court and Hon’ble Special Court. The Custodian attached her assets after 15 years on 04.01.2007 only because the value of her investments appreciated very sharply between 2003 and 2007 as already explained earlier. Like all our family members, even Smt Rasila Mehta had made investments in blue-chip shares by purchasing them through 3 brokerage firms in the family. She paid full brokerage and also paid interest to her sons and daughter-in-law @ 12% p.a. and all her transactions were carried out on the floor of the stock exchange and reported the same day to the exchange. The interest paid by her was claimed as an expense which was allowed by the Income Tax authorities even for years prior to April 1992. Thus, the transactions were undertaken by her at arms-length and in the normal course of business and she had not received any monies belonging to banks nor any banks had made any claim on her assets.
Yet, the Custodian did not spare her and levelled false allegations on her that as a housewife she could never have got such huge investments but for largesse received from Harshad. That she was front and benamidar of Harshad and a member of Harshad Mehta Group and therefore even her assets have been taken away, sold at throw-away prices and the proceeds have been used to transfer to the account of Harshad and then used to meet false and patently illegal claims of I.T. department and the banks on Harshad. The law of the land does not provide for such group punishment and even though the Constitution provides for several fundamental and other rights and there is universal recognition of human rights but the Custodian and other organs of “State” have abused their powers and position and grossly violated the law of the land to give such drastic punishment to our mother only because she happened to be the mother of Harshad Mehta. We have presented complete facts of her transactions before authorities and Custodian and he has not impugned any of her transactions despite having wide powers u/s 4(1) of the Torts Act to cancel any contracts entered into by notified persons. To conclusively demolish the allegations of Custodian both Smt Rasila Mehta and Smt Rina Sudhir Mehta have presented on oath charts before Hon’ble Courts giving facts of sharp appreciation in the value of their investments after the demise of Harshad to prove that their portfolios are not on account of any largesse by Harshad Mehta. Now, as her legal heirs we are patiently seeking justice for our beloved mother posthumously from the Hon'ble Courts so that we can fulfil her last wishes.
Shri Narasimha Rao, then Prime Minister, had summoned Harshad
Last but not the least, I vividly remember how my husband on a Friday, 1st November 1991 received a call from New Delhi that the then Prime Minister, Shri Narasimha Rao had summoned him for a meeting in the morning of 4th November 1991 (on Dhanteras, the first day of Diwali). This was through Shri Sunil Mittal, promoter of Bharti Telecom as his late father, Shri Satpal Mittal was a very close friend of the Prime Minister. My husband travelled with Ashwin in the afternoon on Sunday, 3rd November 1991. In the said meeting, the Hon’ble Prime Minister conveyed that the foreign currency situation of the country was alarming as there were reserves of only about 7 days and if they were not shored up the country could default and become a ‘banana republic’ and which would jeopardize the plans of the Government to turnaround the situation. The Hon’ble Prime Minister wanted to dispel the environment of gloom and revive the animal spirits and build up confidence by boosting the stock markets since it was widely considered to be a barometer of the economy.
“My husband was asked to boost the markets and a promise was made to him that he will have the blessings of the Government in doing so. Harshad was called upon to serve the country at a most critical juncture and suggestions were also sought from him on the role that the stock market could play in providing the capital and boosting industrial growth. Harshad was accompanied by younger brother Ashwin and Shri Satpal Mittal was accompanied by his son Shri Sunil Mittal and his PA. Harshad made a commitment to the Hon’ble Prime Minister that he would do his best in serving the country at such a critical juncture. At that time, the BSE index was hovering around 1400 and after returning Harshad took several steps to boost the sentiments besides making long-term investments for all the clients and our family. The Government immediately embarked upon reforms by sharp devaluation of currency and introduction of immunity scheme to garner foreign currency reserves. Due to the introduction of a series of reforms starting from November 1991 itself upto 28th February 1992 the Index climbed to about 2800 and post the presentation of a dream budget on 29.02.1992 the market recorded a further sharp and perpendicular rise to an index level of 4487 by April 1992 itself.”
I have personally seen his excitement and actions taken by him after the above meeting with the Hon’ble Prime Minister and can only wish and pray to God that the role played by him and his contributions get recognized someday as it was the biggest motivating factor behind what he did and contributed post that fateful meeting with the Hon’ble Prime Minister. Only because Harshad was hounded by the agencies who discovered the facts of his meeting with the then Prime Minister and withdrawal of an amount of Rs.40 lacs from the bank account in Mumbai on 02.11.1991 that Harshad was compelled to reveal the facts of his above meeting and payment of Rs.1 Crore given to the then Hon’ble Prime Minister and the Congress party as contribution for his impending election from Nandayal. It now seems that harsh actions and false levies of income tax claims on us and all the other actions enumerated above were the retaliatory actions of the then Government of Congress. Only therefore in his interview Harshad had stated to Pritish Nandy that “while he expected no bouquets but at least no brickbats may be given to him”. As a family we humbly beg for justice from the present Government and the judiciary.
Now Harshad’s case rests only before the Almighty and the “awaam” of this country. He has received a lot of love and affection from many to whom I and my family will ever remain so grateful. I wish he is not referred to as a ‘scamster’ since he was never adjudged guilty of the allegations against him through the process of law and trial by media has gone too far and remains unchecked. The code of ethics applicable to journalism may at least be belatedly applied to him by not vilifying him further.
We Mehtas only seek peace and the next generation of Mehtas wish to get gainfully employed in doing constructive work in the society and participate in nation-building and also put an early end to their sufferings of the past 30 years. We will strive to promote equity cult by creating greater awareness and will root for the cause of local investors to tilt the balance in their favour. I once again on behalf of all the Mehtas thank the society for the love and affection showered on us for past 30 years without getting swayed by the media which has worked overtime against Harshad.
I am pleased to release to the public a website styled as “www.harshadmehta.in” in Harshad's defence. I have made my best efforts to make it accurate and as user-friendly as we could make it possible knowing full well that the subject is very complex and we are covering events of the past 3 decades. In case the contents need any improvement on the basis of the feedback, the same will be carried out. In order to put to rest the issues, I have backed up my contentions with conclusive and binding orders and findings given therein and also neatly catalogued the events of past 30 years. Since some of the matters are sub-judice and the present website is prepared not to run any campaign, we will not get engaged any further with the media or get into any interaction.
Thank you all for your forbearance and patience and we wish you the best and solicit your participation in the stock market as long-term investors.