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Depositors look forward to `full settlement' of dues

By Our Staff Reporter

CHENNAI, JUNE 23. Hopes run high among depositors of the Royapettah Benefit Fund (RBF) following the decision of the Company Law Board-appointed management of the nidhi to repay the outstanding to all those who had deposits up to Rs.5,000.

Other `small' depositors, particularly those with deposits up to Rs.15,000, were eagerly looking forward to the management announcing a "full settlement" for them too, said K. Srivatsan, secretary of the RBF Nidhi Limited Depositors Welfare Association.

The nidhi, which closed down in November 1999 after defaulting in repayments and subsequently taken over by the CLB, owes Rs.380 crores to 1.80 lakh depositors. The association had arrived at the outstanding due after taking into account the 15 per cent, principal repaid by the nidhi in three equal instalments.

Just over 24,000 depositors have got back their deposits, up to Rs.5,000, Mr. Srivatsan and C.M. Soundararajan, treasurer of the association, told press persons here today. The repayments, they added, were not without its share of controversies and alleged administrative errors. The two pointed out that many of the RBF depositors were against the `full-settlement' being restricted to a small `poor' group.

Mr. Srivatsan alleged that differences between the RBF board members and chairman and the apathy of various Central government departments, including the CLB, was impeding the recovery process (from the mega borrowers) and return of deposits. "Moreover, the expenditure on management of the nidhi, including those on the staff, was around Rs. 3 lakhs a month," he added.

Demanding reconstitution of the board of directors, Mr. Soundararajan said the association had already called for the appointment of depositors' representatives. There were many qualified people who deposited money, including judges, bureaucrats, chartered accountants, whose service could be utilised on payment of an honorarium.

The nidhi management should immediately convene a general body of depositors, which was last held six years ago, they said.

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