Subhiksha MD has to pay Rs 1.76-cr PF dues

Written by Corporate Bureau | Mumbai | Updated: Mar 10 2009, 06:39am hrs
Subhiksha Trading Services said its managing director R Subramanian will need to pay Rs 1.76 crore immediately in provident fund dues. The clarification from the company came after reports that the Employee Provident Fund Office (EPFO) in Chennai would attach the properties of Subramanian for collection of dues and that the PF commissioner has begun a 7-A enquiry for determining the EPF dues of Subhiksha.

As part of the hearing, the company had clarified its financial position and pointed out that a corporate debt restructuring was underway. The willingness of Subramanian, who is also the promoter, to make good a part of the dues from his personal PF account was also intimated to the commissioner. This offer was made, though a personal PF account was not attachable under law. Subramanian executed papers for the transfer of his funds in his PF account, a media statement from the company said.

Subhiksha has run into financial trouble over the past few months, and one of its major shareholders, ICICI Ventures, has approached the registrar of companies for an investigation into the affairs of the company and also for an independent audit.

The statement quoted Subramaniam as saying that as a measure of cost-cutting, all the employees had agreed from June 2008 onwards to restrict their contribution to Rs 6,500, which is the salary ceiling under the EPF& Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.

Further, even though the salaries have not been disbursed for months and only an advance is given to its employees, the company has already decided to scale down the expenditure on a bi-partite arrangement of paying PF contributions on a higher salary.

Besides, ICICI Venture, along with some other shareholders, which include an entity promoted by IT major Wipro chairman Azim Premji, is also said to be opposing Subhikshas move to merge itself with Chennai-based Blue Green Constructions.

The company said that it was unable to pay salaries and arrears to its 15,000 employees from October 2008, but it has repaid a loan of Rs 15 crore to one of its shareholders.