In two identical orders, the Dakshina Kannada District Consumer Disputes Rederssal Forum has sentenced three managing partners of a finance company to six months' imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs. 10,000 on them.
The partners of Surabhi Finance and Investments (since closed) failed to refund the deposits and interest to the complaints despite the orders to this effect issued by the forum in 2008.
Shambhavi V. Putran of Bengre, who had deposited Rs. 89,380 in 2001, had filed one of the complaints.
The other was filed jointly by Srinivas T. Salian of Kulai and his wife Jalaja, who had invested Rs. 87,000 in 2001, and Vaman V. Putran of Surathkal and wife Suguna, who deposited Rs. 81,000 between 1997 and 2002.
An interest of 24 per cent per annum was promised. The forum had asked the company's managing partners to pay the matured amounts along with interest at the rate of 10 per cent per annum.
As orders to this effect were not complied with, the complaints had filed petitions seeking execution of the orders.
The managing partners of the company, who have been sentenced, are Nagesh Karkera, Purandar Salian and Kumar N. Karkera. During hearing of the execution petitions, they pleaded not guilty and sought to be tried.
As the fourth managing partner Keshava T. Shriyan failed to appear before the forum, it decided to try him separately.
The judgments delivered by forum member Lavanya M. Rai said the original orders passed against the accused in earlier cases had not been challenged before the Appellate Authority nor the order had been quashed or dismissed. Thus, the orders were final.
The latest orders said that even after giving numerous opportunities to settle the matter before adalat by the forum, the accused had not come forward to settle the matter or to comply with the orders and were “just keeping evading to settle the matter on one or the other pretext. Hence, we have observed that the attitude of the accused appears to be not correct.”
The identical judgments added, “Non-compliance of the order within the time limited therein for, whatever be the reason, is an offence and punishment is provided for it. It is proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused intentionally did not comply with the orders…” The bail bond of the accused has been cancelled.