Puducherry: When Sudha Sinha came down to Puducherry to settle down after her retirement from Bihar government service in 1994, she was expecting a peaceful life in the Aurobindo Ashram. But it was not to be, because she believed the claims of a mutual benefit fund company, PNL Nidhi Limited, which was then inaugurated by the Chief Minister. With the company claiming to have RBI approval, Sinha invested her savings in a retirement scheme about 10 years ago. So did over 6,000 senior citizens.
When the company defaulted on repayment of the money, 13,000 investors went to court and even obtained an order from the Supreme Court in their favour in November 2008.
Eight months on, they are still waiting for their money. This has come as a bigger shock to 74-year-old Sinha and other investors than the one they suffered on knowing that the company had defrauded them.
Sinha had to borrow Rs 3 lakh from a bank for a knee surgery she underwent last April and is now paying more interest. “My money has been stuck up in that mutual fund for the last 10 years and just when we thought there was light at the end of the tunnel, the tunnel’s darkness refuses to leave us. The Puduchery court postponed the actual disbursement in September,” she says and adds, “My case still looks better than another woman who lost her husband because she couldn’t afford immediate medical attention for him. PNL Nidhi swallowed her money too.”
Some people who gave away their entire life’s savings even committed suicide when the company declared bankruptcy. Its directors have transferred the money, roughly Rs 63 crore, to other companies. Among those cheated is 67-year-old Sethuraman, whose family of seven is dependent on his retirement benefits that have been swallowed by the the company. There is Rajendran (49) who can’t think of a good marriage for his daughter neither can he contemplate sending his son for higher studies as his savings were invested in PNL Nidhi.
The trapped investors are wondering why the Supreme Court verdict is not being implemented.