Kochi Investor, Who Forgot About Shares Bought 43 Years Ago, is Now Fighting for Rs 1,448.5 Crore Stake

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A 74-year-old man from Kochi is fighting a battle to reclaim his stake — amounting to Rs1,448.5 crores — in a company that he and his family members invested in 43 years ago. Now, the company has denied his claim and said that the shares were transferred to other people in 1989, The New Indian Express reported.

In April 1976, Babu George Valavi with his four other relatives bought 3,500 shares in Udaipur-based Mewar Oil & General Mills, an unlisted company that used to make edible oils at the time. Later, the company changed its name to Pi Industries and expanded to pesticides and other chemical manufacturing. Over 43 years of Babu’s investment, the company grew, was listed on stock exchanges and now has a market capitalisation of over Rs. 50,000 crores.

When Babu and his relatives bought shares in the company, they had enough shares to grant them a 2.8 per cent ownership of the company. Now, the ownership by the Valavi family translates to 42.48 lakh shares. According to the current value of the company’s shares — Rs 3,410 each on Monday, the family’s claim becomes an enormous Rs1448.5 crores.

Over time, Babu forgot about his family’s investment. When Babu’s son started managing his finances, he discovered the share certificates. They approached Pi Industries’ registrar Karvy Consultants to Demat their shares, as the company was already listed. Upon Karvy’s instruction, the family contacted the company for confirming their stake but to their shock, the company told them that the shares were transferred to other people in 1989.

In January 2016, Rajnish Sarma, then director and now joint managing director of the company, and former general manager C H N Rao came to Kochi to meet Babu to settle the issue. According to Babu, they agreed that the certificates were original. However, when nothing happened even after some time passed, Babu contacted the chairman, “but he was evasive in his reply,” he told the newspaper.

Then, the family approached the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) but the company stood on their stance. Considering the possibility of fraud by some senior officials of the company, Babu expressed hope that the Sebi investigation is not closed yet.

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