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NB fraud: In dire straits, Gitanjali staff to go to Labour Commissioner

Published On : 24 Feb 2018   |  Reported By : Courtesy The Hindu   |  Pic On: Photo credit The Hindu

Mumbai, (The Hindu): Left out in the cold, say employees of jewellery firm being probed in PNB scam. Faced with sealed offices and an absconding promoter, employees of gems and jewellery firm Gitanjali plan to approach the State Labour Commissioner to protect their interests.

The company, promoted by Mehul Choksi, is being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for its role in the Rs.11,400-crore PNB scam.

On Friday, several employees gathered in Andheri (East) to highlight their plight to the government. Employees of Gitanjali’s Andheri (E) unit submitted a written complaint to the Development Officer for SEEPZ, seeking help to get their Provident Fund (PF) and gratuity. The company has its headquarters in Bandra Kurla Complex, and three more offices in the city.

“We have no work to do. Production has stopped, and stock and material have been seized by the investigating agencies,” Reshma Achutan from the HR department in Gitanjali’s factory division, said. Sanjay Mumdewadi, another employee, said most of them are seeking new jobs. “When the prospective employer learns that we are from Gitanjali, they want us to take a pay cut.”

Gitanjali’s HR department is issuing experience certificates to employees seeking jobs elsewhere. “We are also initiating formalities so that employees get their PF sorted in the next three months,” Ms. Achutan said.

No word from the top

Employees have not received any directives from the management, and some senior executives have already quit. In her resignation letter, vice-president and company secretary Pankhuri Warange said recent events require the company to make certain disclosures under the Companies Act 2013 and SEBI norms. “Without disclosure, there will be ramifications, not just for the company but also key managerial personnel. With no consensus on my opinion on disclosure, I have taken the conscious decision to relinquish my position with immediate effect.”

Many of the employees who gathered on Friday were worried about outsanding home loans. “I have no clue how to pay next month’s housing loan EMI. I cannot shell out Rs.40,000 without a salary. Given the current situation in the job market, it will take me at least three months to get a job,” an employee said.

Sanjay Kulkarni, a senior sales executive with Gili, a Gitanjalo jewellery brand, had been promoted recently to team leader. “Till January, I used to get Rs. 13,000 a month, which was to increase to Rs. 17,500 following the promotion. But as fate would have it, I have to quit without even receiving my January salary.”

Mr. Kulkarni has been told by the HR department to fill up PF forms, but he isn’t sure if the monthly deduction of Rs.1,200 towards PF was remitted to the government, as he has not received a salary slip for the last 18 months. “While I can’t speak for the rest, employees of the factory division of Gitanjali Gems and Jewelery can rest assured as the January PF amount had been remitted,” Ms. Achutam said.

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