Retail investors point fingers at Puneet Dalmia, Awanish Mishra, allege financial misconduct

Twesh Mishra New Delhi | Updated on September 18, 2019 Published on September 18, 2019

Puneet Dalmia — a Managing Director at the Dalmia Bharat Group (file photo)

‘Puneet fails to give cogent reason for opening multiple demat, trading accounts with AFS’

The dispute between the Dalmia Bharat Group and Allied Financial Services (AFS) is getting murkier with retail investors levelling allegations of financial misconduct against Puneet Dalmia and Awanish Kumar Mishra.

A group of 44 retail investors have alleged that both Puneet Dalmia — a Managing Director at the Dalmia Bharat Group — and Awanish Kumar Mishra, the Director of AFS, knew of the financial misconduct and had initially colluded to execute the transactions.

According to the allegations raised by retail investors, “Puneet Dalmia has so far taken shelter in the so-called forged documents by Allied, but has not given any cogent reason for the opening of multiple demat/demat-cum-trading accounts with AFS. This was also followed with huge transfers of money from the bank account of Allied into the bank accounts of such companies associated with Puneet Dalmia.”

When reached out by BusinessLine, both Dalmia Group and AFS did not respond. But, officials in the know in the Dalmia Group rubbished these allegations and said that the Group has lodged a request to redeem securities swindled by AFS on December 28, 2018.

Dalmia’s complaint

On January 16, 2019, the Dalmia Group had lodged a complaint with the National Securities Depository when they were unable to redeem the securities, and on January 28, they received a letter dated January 25 from SEBI informing them that the Group had no securities in the said account.

It is alleged that AFS has stolen securities worth ₹344 crore of Dalmia Bharat Group companies and ₹22 crore of Novjoy Emporium Private Limited. The theft is said to have taken place by transferring the securities to the clearing house IL&FS Securities Services (ISSL) as a collateral.

The Dalmia Bharat Group maintains that this transfer took place without their consent and that ASL representatives forged signatures.

Forensic investigation

However, officials close to ASL deny the forgery allegations and have offered an expert opinion from a private forensic investigation agency stating that the signatures have not been forged.

Those close to the Dalmia Group claim that this report has been collated without collecting any samples from the officials in question. “The examined signatures have supposedly been taken from photocopies and the Dalmia Group has a counter expert opinion to deny the veracity of this claim,” the officials said.

Currently, the Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi Police is also examining these signatures and it is expected to conclude its investigation soon. The EOW had arrested Awanish Kumar Mishra in August 2019 while acting on a complaint raised by the Dalmia Group in February 2019.

Officials close to Dalmia say that ASL’s intentions were always questionable as the details of trading accounts opened for OCL India (OCL) and Dalmia Cement East (DCEL) were fudged on the very first day.

(Inputs from Richa Mishra)

Published on September 18, 2019
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