MUMBAI,(AJAY RAWAL) : This is in regards to recent developments between The Bombay Bullion Association (BBA) andRiddiSiddhi Bullions Limited (RSBL) and specifically relating to BBA’s advertisement in various newspapers on 31st December announcing Mr. Prithviraj Kothari’s expulsion from the BBA and the article in aleading English daily (14th Jan 2013).
a. It is not Mr. Prithviraj Kothari who is a member of the BBA but RiddiSiddhi Bullions Limited(RSBL) who is a member of the BBA (membership no 895). Mr. Prithviraj Kothari was thePresident of the BBA till his term as a President of BBA got over in September 2012.
b. BBA’s allegations in the newspaper that Mr. Kothari was involved in a fraud are wrong,illegitimate and malicious. Mr. Kothari did not act in his personal capacity as a President but in aboard meeting of the BBA in March 2011, the directors resolved to give the lower ground floorof the Bombay Bullion Exchange Refinery building on leave and license to M/s S.L. Industries,a firm which is into the minting of coins. Mr. Prithviraj Kothari was not a signatory to any ofthe documents concerning the lease. This fact can be confirmed from the leave & licenseagreement dated 29th May, 2012 registered with the Sub-Registrar of Assurances, Mumbai on05th June, 2012. Copy of the said registered leave and license agreement is annexed hereto(Annex 1). Since the floor was in a dilapidated condition since 60 years and due to maintenanceand cleanliness of sewage lane, it took additional time for BBA to get it operational. Properprocedure was followed. Paper advertisements were given twice and on the basis of that, twofirms had submitted their interest. S.L. Industries was finalized as it offered favorable terms tothe association.
Hence the following allegations are baseless:i.That it was 3000 sq ft was wrong. It was only 780 sq ft built up. These details arementioned in the agreement.ii.Besides, the allegation that there was no royalty income to BBA was wrong. S.L.Industries was to pay BBA royalty of Re 1 on every gold coin and Rs 0.25 on every silvercoin. (Annex 2)iii.That Mr. Kothari manipulated the minutes of meetings for giving undue advantage tohis nephew is baseless since the premise was given on rent to a firm where one Mr.Jain is the main partner. The board had resolved that the unused premise be given for acombination of rent and royalty. An extract of the same is attached (Annex 3). Further, aletter from the then serving Directors of BBA is also attached confirming their presenceand approval of the said resolution (Annex 4).iv.The idea behind setting up a minting facility was to enable member-jewelers inside themarket to use the facility for minting of coins without commuting. Hence this wouldsave time and money for the members at large and lesser risk. Please also note that inno way was RSBL to gain from this arrangement. To the contrary, it would become easyfor other to mint coins and compete with RSBL. Various members had benefited fromthis service.v.S.L. Industries was to set up a minting facility and invest in the interiors. Also, S.L.Industries paid the full year rent in advance. The 60 year old dilapidated property wasfinally put to productive use.vi.A basement area of 780 sq ft given for a fixed rent of Rs 50000 plus royalty wasmarket price. The arrangement didn’t last for long. The BBA, under the new presidentcompelled S.L. Industries to vacate the premises and the latter did so with articles lyingtherein within less than forty eight hours. S.L. Industries have now filed proceedings in
the civil court for restoration of possession and claiming damages worth Rs.1 crore fromthe BBA and its President.
c. The fact that BBA published photograph of Mr. Kothari (even though he is not a member of BBA)in various newspapers along with a press release accusing him of fraud, is a conspiracy and aploy to defame RiddiSiddhi Bullions Limited and Mr. Prithviraj Kothari.
Please find below the quote from Mr. Prithviraj Kothari, Managing Director, RiddiSiddhi Bullions Ltd.
“The Bombay Bullion Association and its associates have always been like a family for me. I wouldhave appreciated if this matter would have been settled internally in a meeting called amongst theboard itself. We would consider the settlement of the dispute if the Board puts forward an apologyfor the relevant damages and humiliation caused. “
31st Dec – BBA publishes ‘Notice’ in at least six news papers with a photograph of Mr. Prithviraj Kotharimentioning: “Mr. Prithviraj Kothari, Director of RiddiSiddhi Bullions Ltd. Membership No 895 has beenexpelled from the membership of the Association in terms of powers of the Board” (Annex 5). Besidesthis, various newspapers and television channels cover this story related to the expulsion of Mr. Kothari.Important things to note: Though the expulsion is for RiddiSiddhi Bullions as a member of BBA, carryingthe photograph of Mr. Kothari was with the intention to damage his reputation worldwide.
3rd Jan – RSBL sends a letter asking the BBA to give an extract of the resolution. RSBL tells BBA that theexpulsion was illegal and illegitimate. RSBL demanded copies of various documents which were neverproduced by the BBA. (Annex 6)
7th Jan – The Bombay City Civil Court passed an order of injunction against The BBA, staying theresolution expelling RSBL and further restrained BBA, its president and its directors and office bearersfrom publishing any article in the media or any other manner in respect of the expulsion of RiddiSiddhiBullions Limited/Mr. Prithviraj Kothari. (Annex 7)
11th Jan – RiddiSiddhi Bullions Limited sends notice to 17 parties including the Association, its president,vice-presidents and directors asking them to furnish apologies. The notice mentions that all the partieswould be liable to pay damages to the extent of Rs 100 crores and also liable to be prosecuted andpunished for having committed an offence of defamation under section 500 of the IPC for which RSBL/Mr. Kothari intend to adopt appropriate proceedings, criminal as well as civil in the Court of Law againstthem. (Annex 8)
14th Jan – BBA releases another press release through a leading English daily terming Mr. Kothari asa ‘criminal fraud’. This is a clear contempt of the court. All 17 parties will be sent notices for contempt ofcourt.
(1) The Bombay Bullion Association (BBA)
(2) Mohit Kamboj, President of BBA and Managing Director of KBJ Jewellery Pvt Ltd
(3) Bipin Jain of M/s Vimalsons Jewellers (Vice President of BBA)
(4) Kapil Parekh of M/s Choksi Arvind Jewellers (Vice President of BBA)
(5) Sumatichand Gouti of M/s Surajmal Gouti (Director of BBA)
(6) Harmesh Arora of M/s NIBR Bullion Pvt Ltd (Director of BBA)
(7) Suresh Jain of M/s S.J. Jain Jewellers (Director of BBA)
(8) Nemichand Sanghvi of M/s Raksha Bullion (Director of BBA)
(9) Arun Kumar Mehra of M/s Choksi Arun Prem (Director of BBA)
(10) Mukesh Mehta of M/s Punya Arts (Director of BBA)
(11) Shailesh Shah of M/s Mahendrakumar Devichand (Director of BBA)
(12) Anil Sanghvi of M/s Sanghvi Sons (Director of BBA)
(13) Kantilal Mehta of M/s Silver Emporium (Director of BBA)
(14) Nilesh Gupta of M/s H.K. International (Director of BBA)
(15) Kiran Jain of M/s Saloni Jewellers Pvt Ltd (Director of BBA)
(16) Rajesh Tulsiani of M/s Dwarkadas Chandumal (Director of BBA)
(17) Shrikant Zaveri of M/s Tribhuvandas Bhimji Zaveri (TBZ) (Director of BBA)