Agri Gold scam: Andhra Pradesh releases ₹264 crore as compensation for victims in the first phase

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on October 21, 2019 Published on October 21, 2019

AP Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy

The alleged ₹6,700 crore scam featured significantly in 2019 AP Assembly elections.

Five years after Agri Gold, the multi-level marketing firm went bust, lakhs of struggling depositors, mostly from Andhra Pradesh have finally something to cheer.

The Andhra Pradesh Government, in a rare move, has announced the release of ₹263.99 crore as the first instalment of compensation to help 3,69,655 Agri Gold victims, who have deposits less than ₹10,000.

Announcing this, the Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy said, the government is also in the process to pay for those who have deposits below ₹20,000. For the same, the government is seeking High Court permission and will be paid once the permission is granted.

Agri Gold, the Vijayawada-based company had collected around ₹6,700 crore from 32 lakh depositors from AP, Telangana, Karnataka, Odisha and Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh and Punjab promising high returns. It started defaulting from 2013-14.

According to a statement from the State government, of the ₹1,150 crore budget allocated for Agri Gold victims, the first tranche of ₹269.99 crore has been released. As per the High Court order and government ruling the amount will be paid from Prakasam district legal cell.

Poll promise

During his record-setting Padayatra before the 2019 elections, Jaganmohan Reddy had promised to settle ₹1,150 crore for those who have deposits below ₹20,000 in Agri Gold. He had heard victims from every district expressing their agony and requesting him to rescue and help get back their hard-earned money. The victims include daily labours, middle-class family members.

The story so far

A Venkatramana and family started Agri Gold in 1995. It aggressively collected deposits and also floated several other business ventures. Its strategy was to promise high returns on deposits with a chance to own land in the real estate projects they developed.

The police arrested the Rao and key executives of the company and attached several properties. The process for selling off the company’s assets as per a High Court directive too is in progress.

In February 2019, the Cabinet, under the then Chief Minister, N Chandrababu Naidu had decided to allot ₹250 crore to arrange payments to depositors having deposits below ₹10,000.

The issue of Agri Gold’s, alleged ₹6,700 crore scam featured significantly in 2019 AP Legislative Assembly elections, with the YSR Congress and BJP targeting the ruling Telugu Desam Government for being ‘soft’ and some leaders having vested interests in the properties close to the upcoming capital of Amaravati.

Published on October 21, 2019
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