The 80-year-old jewellery brand Nathella Jewellers closed down its five branches in Chennai and two in Vellore and Hosur on October 23.
Hundreds of customers who had invested in the stores’ monthly gold investment plans panicked and lodged online complaints on the National Consumer Complaints Forum. Disgruntled customers complained of bounced cheques, non-payment of maturity amounts and losing money on gold exchange rates. They claimed they had lost millions of rupees.
Meanwhile Nathella’s managing director Parapanna Kumar said in a statement that they “are selling our ancestral property to settle customers’ dues, particularly those who invested in the gold saving schemes. We are also planning to reach out through mails. We hope to settle dues in a couple of weeks. We apologise for the inconvenience caused.”
The firm was founded by Sriman Nathella Sampathu Chetty Garu in 1928 at Mylapore in Chennai. Its retail operations began in 1998. In 2007, it became a partnership firm titled Nathella Anjaneyalu Sampathu Jewellery Private Ltd.
Unconfirmed reports suggested that the firm lost money after investing in films, television and social media and due to bank loans and recent taxes like the GST.
School under scanner for student suicide
A private school in Chennai is under police scanner after a Class XII student committed suicide at her home in Chromepet last week.
The parents of the student Brinda complained that she took the extreme step after being reprimanded by her teacher for poor academic record. Many of Brinda’s classmates corroborated the incident and the management suspended the teacher.
In a separate incident, an 18-year-old student of the Government Arts College in Chennai committed suicide by hanging. Prakash, a final year student, left behind a suicide note blaming his professor. His classmates have begun a sit-in protest demanding justice.
In a third incident, the Tamil Nadu Commission of Child Rights has begun interrogating a private Christian school in Tiruchi for punishing Hindu students who burst firecrackers during the October 18 Diwali festival.
ED seizes firm’s properties
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has seized the properties of Chennai-based export conglomerate VLS Group for money laundering and other fraudulent activities.
Acting on the complaint of UCO bank, the ED found that the group owner L Srinivasan had borrowed Rs2.72bn as export loans, but routed this money to Dubai via Mumbai and later made fixed deposits.
He then used overdraft facilities and loans against these deposits, besides purchasing properties in Chennai. The fraud came to light during a UCO bank audit. The ED is also investigating the connivance of bank officials.
Natarajan to leave hospital soon
The health of V Natarajan, the ailing husband of jailed AIADMK party leader V K Sasikala, has improved after a recent dual organ transplant at the Gleneagles Global Health hospital in Chennai.
Natarajan, 73, who had been unwell since February, had a liver and kidney transplant on October 3. Sasikala, who is serving a jail sentence for corruption in Karnataka, visited him on a five-day parole.
“He has recovered well. Last week, we moved him to the ward. He is off the ventilator and is breathing normally. We will be discharging him in a few days,” doctors said.