While the West Bengal government-run Biswa Bangla Marketing Corporation (BBMC) is in a dispute regarding trademark registration and ownership of its logo, the company has not filed its annual returns with the Registrar of Companies (RoC) since its incorporation. The company was incorporated on December 31, 2014. Since then, it has not filed its annual returns, a source in the RoC told FE. This implies a suo moto cancellation of the company by the RoC under section 248(1) of the Companies Act 2013 because BBMC has not shown commencing its business within one year of its operations. According to RoC records, the company, which has an authorised capital of Rs 2 crore and a paid-up capital of Rs 1 lakh with five directors — Harsh Vardhan Neotia, Mahua Banerjee, Subal Panja, Rudra Chatterjee and Rajiva Sinha — on the board, didn’t report any proceedings of its annual general meeting or hasn’t deposited its statements of accounts with the RoC.
The company was supposed to hold at least two annual general meetings since its incorporation. The last date of submission of the details for FY17 was October 31. But the directors didn’t turn up to the RoC to submit details. The company, managed by the West Bengal government’s department of MSME, runs seven retail outlets in New Delhi, Darjeeling, Bagdogra, Park Street, Dhakuria, New Town and Netaji Subash Chandra Bose International Airport. While it has been selling handicraft items under its product categories, it has also been selling packaged liquid jaggery as a Bengali delicacy.
Though Rajiv Sinha, MSME secretary, refrained from commenting on the issue, he said the ownership lies with the state government since the entire paid-up capital has been paid by the state’s MSME department. However, Mukul Roy, once the second-in-command in the Trinamool Congress, who blew open the lid of controversy after joining the BJP, said Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had announced the launch of Biswa Bangla on September 2013 and the MSME department incorporated it on December 2014. The West Bengal government applied for the Biswa Bangla logo on April 2014. “How come the government applies for the logo before it incorporates the company?”
Sinha said the chief minister created the logo and a close relative (read Abhishek Banerjee) applied for its ownership. But later, the government claimed it and became the owner of the logo. Roy claimed the government doesn’t even possess the certificate of trademark. None of the directors was available for comment.