“A man claiming to be from his college, built good rapport, then duped him of Rs.5 crore when he was alive”

Gulshan Lal Tandon, a Padma Bhushan awardee and former Chairman of Coal India Limited who passed away at the age of 80 this August, was purportedly cheated by a stockbroker of his life savings through illegal transfer of his shares worth Rs.5 crore in different companies.

G. L. Tandon, the country’s first mining engineer to have been conferred Padma Bhushan, had passed out from a reputed institute in Dhanbad, now in Jharkhand. Recipient of several awards, he had chaired many important posts and was also appointed director in various reputed companies.

Mr. Tandon’s authorised representative recently lodged a complaint with the Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi Police alleging that he had been cheated by a person running a financial institution in South Delhi, who had about nine years ago introduced himself to the former CIL Chairman as a distinguished alumnus of the same engineering institute from where he had passed out.

Claiming that he was a gold medallist of his batch, the accused built a rapport with Mr. Tandon. In due course, Mr. Tandon learnt that the accused had instead set up a stock brokerage firm as a sub-broker of a Chennai-based capital investment company. The accused also learnt that Mr. Tandon had invested his lifetime savings in the stock market. The complainant’s accounts were then being managed by his close friend from Kolkata on whose advice he would take decisions on investments.

“Whatever dividends the complainant used to receive from the shares/equity investments were his only source of income, as he had no pension or retirement benefits, his appointments being contractual in nature,” alleged the complaint, on the basis of which the EOW registered a case on Friday and initiated investigations.

The accused offered Mr. Tandon to manage his entire investment portfolio in an efficient manner and even promised to triple the amount in one year. An unsuspecting Mr. Tandon agreed to open two de-mat accounts with the Chennai-based firm and transferred the entire stocks and holdings to the new accounts.

However, in early 2008 Mr. Tandon realised that something was amiss as no dividend or share bonus against the shares transferred at the instance of the accused was accruing to him. On several occasions, he made oral complaints to the accused enquiring about it, at which he received vague replies and excuses. When Mr. Tandon asked him to get in writing from the parent company regarding non-receipt of dividend bonuses, the accused handed him over letters in September 2008 purportedly sent by the Chennai-based company regarding the action being taken. However, those letters later turned out to be forged.

The accused then started avoiding Mr. Tandon’s phone calls and even refused to meet him. An aggrieved Mr. Tandon then wrote to the broker firm complaining about the conduct of the accused. Although they confirmed that the two accounts had been opened by them, they disclosed that a part of his shares were transferred to two other accounts. This was allegedly done without Mr. Tandon’s authorisation. The accounts in question were closed down in May 2008.

The company also shared information revealing that the letters produced by the accused were forged. Thereafter, Mr. Tandon appointed a person to resolve the matter, but to no avail. Further details that emerged from the communication with the Chennai-based firm made it more evident that the accused had cheated Mr. Tandon.

When Mr. Tandon and his representatives confronted the accused, he sought some time to do the amends. However, the issue remained unresolved. In a letter in December 2009, he admitted that certain amount on his part was due to Mr. Tandon but he never made any payment. An aggrieved Mr. Tandon then lodged a complaint with the Malviya Nagar police station seeking action in April, but died four months following a prolonged illness.

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