Deepak Sakharam Kulkarni aka D.S. Kulkarni is prestigious name in Maharashtra. He is a builder, an entrepreneur,  businessman and an inspiration to youth generations. The man who once upon a time used to sell vegetables in marke , who used to wipe out telephones became one of the most influential builder in construction business. Not even this he built and extended his empire in other sector also.

He is the biggest inspiration for those who struggled to achieve  success from ground zero levels. His speeches contain vivid motivation and splinterproof optimism which appeal most to the middle class Maharashtrian people and young generation.

He is the prominent name in real estate sector and known to be contributor for giving homes to middle class and lower middle class in Maharashtra. The tag line of his DSK group “Gharala gharpan denari manase” (People who gave the real meaning to home) depict it’s journey and relation to the core.

It was 2012 in June when first time I saw him in his office. There is approximately three- four story building of DS Kulkarni developers limited situated at J.M. road in Pune.  That was the time when I recently passed out my law degree and was wondering aimlessly in the abyss of question as to what and how to start career further. It was the same time when my mother has retired from her small scale government service. One day she came to Pune at my place and insisted me that I should accompany her at DSK’s office on J.M. road. I was bit in a dilemma but nevertheless we went at his place.

We had a warm welcome by the office staff and we landed at the second floor with one of executive. They were looking at our face to search out for what purpose we are there and I was wondering what aai (my mother- in Marathi we call mother as Aai- aa-ee) has in her mind to ask them. Aai drawn a piece of paper from her small cloth bag to show them. It was an advertisement published by DSK group. Till the moment I was sitting there and observing the luxurious arrangement around us Aai broke out the silence by asking “Did DSK sahib really offering us 14% interests on fixed deposits? I red your add in newspaper and therefore coming with my daughter for inquiry.” Listening her word I was little shocked but did not react anything that time. The young lady executive of DSK smiled professionally. After determining our purpose of visit  first she called out an office boy to bring water and hot tea for us. After that she explained us the whole scheme and assured that if we invest money with DSK’s fixed deposit scheme we will get guaranteed 14% interest  on our deposits. She made calculations in front of us to let us know how much interest we could earn on our prospective deposits. Listening to all this Aai was seeming to be thoughtful. We rolled our meeting soon and prepared to leave. While waiting at the door entrance for the lift to come as soon as the lift door opened I saw Mr. D.S. Kulkarni was coming out with some guests. Such a strong a stoutish personality. (Now people will say it’s attitude! their problem! Can’t help it.)

After coming back at home I simply said to my mother not to invest in his fixed deposit schemes. This knowledge did not come from my legal expertise background. I was too young in legal field and I was not sure about many things. Although the track record of DSK group was clean till that date I still had a doubt if depositing hard earned money of my mother in a company who is running its business on public private partnership would be secured option?. Finally after much discussions my mother invested her money in nationalise bank on vividly less interest rates.

When the news were in highlight that DSK is not paying interest on fixed deposits and in many cases where F.D’s are matured but people are not getting back their money I recalled above incident and felt good and bad at the same time. We did not invest because that time our intuition was not giving us permission but intuition is subjective thing. It is  not everyone’s cup of tea. Investment options and their returns always carry some or other risk and it would be better if investor know that risk factor not by his intuition power but by the proper background check and long term vision with updated legal and financial wisdom.

With multi-level changes and apparently better provisions than the earlier new  companies act came in Mar 2013. After the enforcement of said act many rules regarding to fixed deposits which used to be taken by public limited companies have been changed. Legal obligations became stricter.  It is now mandatory for a company to make 30% provision for repayment of FDs. It is now also mandatory for the companies who are taking deposits to disclose the credit rating of their FD schemes. That is why many public limited companies stopped taking FD’s after 2014 but in a while DSK continued with his schemes.

Fixed deposit schemes run by builders is always a matter of debate in the country. Builders do create F.D. schemes where they can collect money on lower interest rates which they have to pay to banks and financial institutes while taking loan. Could anyone give answers to some basic questions before investing money in any FD scheme raised by construction  company like DSKDL (D.S. Kulkarni developers)?

  1. Is it registered by following all norms under companies act 1956 and now companies act 2003?
  2. Is that company is a public limited company?
  3. What is the past financial record of that company?
  4. If it is real estate company under which name it is collecting your money?
  5. What is the real situation of a company and its ongoing or completed, sold or unsold schemes?
  6. How much land or projects have been mortgaged with banks or NBFC?
  7. The money which you are going to invest in a company is that company is real or just exist on paper?
  8. On which paper you are signing? On a papers authorised by a public limited company or under the veil of public limited company is your money siphoning to fraud partnership firms or private limited companies hold by family members of builder?
  9. Is your deposit is going to be used for lawful purpose or it will be just sophisticated money shifts in a personal field of builder?

These are and some basic questions every investor need to ask himself. Please note that debentures and fixed deposits are two different terms and not interchangeable. Do not term your fixed deposits invested with builder as debentures.  Safety and health of your investment is depend upon the reliability and financial stability of a company. There are numerous ways of check list and person can dig out the information about everything and scrutinise it for his own goods. For example

In case of DSK he has eight partnership companies, in which DSKDL (DS Kulkarni Developers) is the flagship company. Remaining are DS Kulkarni and Associates, DS Kulkarni and Brothers, DS Kulkarni and Sons, DSK and Sons, DSK Associates, DSK Construction and DSK Enterprises. Now the questions which remain unanswered are?

  1. DSKDL is the flagship company of DSK group and therefore widely known in public. What is the status of remaining companies under the veil? Are they public limited companies or private limited companies?
  2. Out of all 8 companies which companies got legal and statutory permissions to accept public deposits?
  3. Except DSKDL are these companies working in real or they are just a shell companies existed on paper?
  4. If DSKDL offered me my FD scheme did my money was really deposited with DSKDL or it was taken on behalf of other companies which may have legal and statutory issues?

 etc…

 As per as DSK is concern his case could be studied in depth and from different angels. What went wrong or what is going wrong about Mr. D.S. Kulkarni and how he will come out from this situation. He has to as the fate of investors, shareholders and FD holders is dependable upon his financial well- being. Legal and financial literacy can save your headache and heavy loss many times therefore it is your fault if you do not have a knowledge and vision to understand the fate of your investment. Money matter do not run on trust and brand name. It runs of opportunity and right timings. You need to calculate those. My motive behind writing this series will be two folded. To make people cautious about choosing their future investment options and to aware them about their legal rights. Stay tuned to my website for more information.

-Adv. Anjali Zarkar

 

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