Karnataka HC rejects pleas filed by Premjis, three others challenging summons in criminal case

Bengaluru, May 18 (PTI) The Karnataka High Court has rejected petitions filed by Wipro Limited founder Azim Premji, his wife and three others seeking quashing of the summons issued by a city court on January 27 in a criminal case.

The case pertains to the alleged illegality in the transfer of assets worth Rs 45,000 crore from three companies into a private trust and a newly formed company.

Wipro said since the matter is sub-judice, it will not comment and the promoter group will take appropriate legal action.

Justice John Michael Cunha dismissed the pleas on May 15 filed by Premji, Yasmin Premji, Pagalthivarthi Srinivasan, then regional director in the ministry of corporate affairs M R Bhat and chartered accountant G Venkateshwara Rao seeking quashing of the summons issued by the 23rd Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge.

The summons were issued on the basis of a complaint filed by India Awake for Transparency, a Chennai based company.

Hearing the case, Justice John Michael Cunha said he did not find any justifiable ground to interfere in the impugned order and dismissed the petitions.

The complainant India Awake for Transparency (IAT) had alleged that Azim Premji, Yaseem Azim Premji and Pagalthivarthi Srinivasan were entrusted with the dominion over the properties and assets of three companies Vidya Investment and Trading Company Private Limited, Regal Investment and Trading Company Private Limited and Napean Investment and Trading Company Private Limited as directors.

They were allegedly holding the assets of these companies of the total worth of Rs 31,343 crore in fiduciary capacity without having any financial interest or ownership therein.

These companies were founded on the premises that the aforesaid three companies were owned by each other in such a manner that two and three companies held 50 per cent of the share of the first company.

These three companies -- Vidya, Regal and Napean -- had total assets of Rs 51,549.47 crore.

As directors during 2010-2012, the first three accused took away Rs 13,602 crore of assets of the above three companies by way of gifts and transfer the same to a private trust controlled by accused number 1 and 2, the IAT alleged.

In respect of the remaining assets of Rs 31,342 crore, the IAT alleged the accused conspired among themselves and merged the three companies into fourth accused company namely Hasham Investment and Trading Company Pvt Ltd without any payment.

Through this they got control over the entire assets worth Rs 31,342 crore belonging to the transferor companies of which they were the directors, the IAT alleged.

In a statement,Wipro Limited said: 'The matter pertains to a complaint filed by a private party against promoters of Wipro Limited with respect to transactions of the promoter group which are in the public domain.

Wipro is not a party to these matters.Considering the matter is sub-judice, we have no comments to offer.

Promoter group will take appropriate legal recourse,' it said in a statement.PTI GMS BN WELCOME BN WELCOME