Farmer-promoted supermarket lands in trouble in Thanjavur

February 06, 2023 10:28 pm | Updated 10:28 pm IST - THANJAVUR

An initiative of a group of farmers to reach out directly to consumers eight years ago seems to have landed in a mess allegedley due to a rift among the founding members.

According to police, four people with background in agriculture started a firm in 2015 to create a marketing platform for the farmers in the region to directly connect with the consumers regarding their produce.

They took around 1,000 farmers in the delta region as “investors” in the firm and rented a space in the New Housing Board area to set up a large retail showroom to sell the agricultural and value-added agricultural products manufactured by the “investor” farmers.

The novel idea elicited a favourable response from the consumers initially as the trend moved towards buying organic farm produce though the percentage of farmer-produced products made available to the consumers remained as low as 25% of the total products displayed for sale at the supermarket.

Three years later, one of the founding members and executive director (ED) of the firm, A. Amirthapandian was relieved of his post and two other founding members were made ED and deputy ED of the firm. In 2019, Amirthalingam approached the High Court seeking directions for disclosure of income and expenditure of the supermarket whose administration was taken over by the incumbents.

Meanwhile, criminal complaints were lodged with the Tamil University Police against Amirthalingam by those involved in the issue and after interrogation, the police directed the parties to the complaints to approach the court for settling the “real issue” in which they were entangled.

Later, in March 2021, the other founding members sold the ₹1 crore-worth supermarket for ₹60 lakh without the knowledge of “investor” farmers claimed Amirthalingam who had approached the Tamil University Police with a complaint in this regard in July 2022.

As the cost of the property involved in the alleged crime was around ₹1 crore, the complaint was forwarded to the District Crime Branch which had filed a case under 120 (B) and 8 other sections of the Indian Penal Code against the other founding members during the first week of February, police said.

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