Wise Wealth Advisors

D.Muthukrishnan (Muthu), Certified Financial Planner- Personal Financial Advisor

Planting the Dream: The Anubhav Plantations Scam

Posted by Muthu on July 20, 2010

On 2nd December 1998, thousands of people from places like Shimla, Trichy, Sangli and several other Indian cities and towns converged at the New Woodlands Hotel in Chennai.

All of them were investors in the collapsed Anubhav group’s teak plantation schemes, and a majority of them were on the brink of bankruptcy.

They had come to Chennai in response to a letter from an advocate inviting them to come and check all the records and the balance sheet of the company.

The investors could be seen everywhere – sitting on the pavements, standing around the building, walking up and down the roads – all of them tense and worried. The investors had sensed wrong doings at Anubhav when the cheques issued to some of them bounced in mid-1998.

Many depositors, who went to the group’s offices to collect their deposit amount after maturity, found the doors locked and lodged complaints with the police.

Later, thousands of investors demonstrated in front of the company’s headquarters in Chennai.

But the main accused, C. Natesan, Chairman, Anubhav Group (Natesan), had already gone underground. The Anubhav group of companies was eventually found to have duped investors of over Rs.400 crores.

As details about the ‘Great Plantation Scam of the 1990s’ were revealed in the media, Natesan’s modus operandi shocked those who held the Anubhav group in high regard.

A commerce graduate from Chennai’s Vivekananda College and a chartered accountancy course dropout, Natesan was a man who dreamt big.

His ostentatious lifestyle, his cars, and his plush office in Chennai’s up market Royapettah area were frequently cited by the media as examples of his lavish tastes.

Natesan started his career in 1983 by launching a consultancy firm, ‘Yours Faithfully Consultancy.’ In 1984, he entered the construction business with three partners.

Three years later, he closed this venture and set up the Anubhav Foundation. In 1992, Anubhav Plantations Ltd. (Anubhav) was floated as a public limited company. Over the years, the Anubhav umbrella expanded to include various other companies such as Anubhav Homes Ltd., Anubhav Resorts Ltd., Anubhav Finance & Investments, Anubhav Communications & Advertising (Pvt.) Ltd., Anubhav Royal Orchards & Exports, Anubhav Hire Purchase Ltd., Anubhav Green Farms & Resorts (Pvt.) Ltd., Anubhav Agro, Anubhav Security Bureau, Anubhav Interiors and Anubhav Health Club.

By 1998, Anubhav had become a Rs. 250 crores group which, apart from its teak-plantation schemes, was involved in the timeshare, finance, and real estate businesses.

These companies were backed by a nationwide infrastructure of 91 offices and over 1,800 employees. Natesan had plans to forward-integrate from teak into furniture and to get imported machinery to make it. However, his growth strategy was focused mainly on mobilizing funds from investors. The group had already raised vast sums of money from the public in the form of fixed deposits, teak units, and a combination of fixed deposits and teak units.

Natesan was extremely secretive about the financial performance of his group. In the plantations business, Anubhav was the market leader. It operated through four companies: Anubhav Agrotech, Anubhav Green Farms & Resorts, Anubhav Plantations, and Anubhav Royal Orchards Exports.

Anubhav’s shaky financial condition could easily be seen in its books. In 1996-97, plantation income amounted to Rs. 35.32 crores and net profit was Rs. 38.69 lakhs.

The low profitability was attributed to the group’s high, non-productive, expenses. In March 1997, Anubhav’s current liabilities exceeded its current assets by Rs.6.40 crores. The company’s paid-up equity capital was just Rs. 36 lakhs while its borrowings, both secured and unsecured, amounted to Rs. 2.64 crores. Loans and advances amounted to Rs 25.95 crores, of which Rs 10.75 crores had been lent to Anubhav Foundations, Anubhav Green Farms & Resorts, Anubhav Resorts and Anubhav Communications.

In the schedule explaining the loan provisions, it was mentioned that the funds had been used for the purchase of residential apartments (Anubhav Foundations) and farmland (Anubhav Green Farms), and to meet the expenses incurred on advertising and marketing (Anubhav Communications).

Most of the plantation firms had a skewed capital structure. According to CRISIL’s findings, on an average, while Rs.35 lakhs was contributed from the promoter’s side, the public funds raised were usually above Rs. 300 crores.

Most of these companies did not even have sufficient crop insurance. Also, the offer documents of these companies did not highlight the risks involved. The lack of industry regulation made it virtually impossible for the average investor to distinguish between a fly-by-night operator and a genuine player. Most of these companies were reluctant to provide information about themselves.

During investigations conducted by Business India, officials at Parasrampuria Plantations refused to even talk to the magazine. However, when the magazine sent people posing as investors, the response was extremely enthusiastic. Investigations regarding the schemes being offered by various companies across the country indicated that things were definitely out of joint.

According to estimates, more than 4500 plantation companies had raised over Rs 25,000 crore from the public during the 1990s. The laxity of the concerned regulatory authorities was a major factor behind these scams.

In the early 1990s, setting up a finance company was very simple as there was no supervisory authority for sole trading or partnership firms, nor did they fall under any regulatory framework.

This gave them a competitive advantage vis-a-vis the other non-banking financial companies (NBFCs).

Though there was a limit on the number of depositors these sole trading or partnership companies were allowed to have, there was no ceiling on the amount of deposits they could collect. As per the Partnership Act, a partner in one company could be a partner in numerous other partnership firms.

With the stock markets performing badly and banks cutting back on interest on deposits, plantation schemes appeared very attractive for investors impatient for returns and willing to take risks.

An investor commented, ‘Why do people invest in these kinds of firms? Because people want to make more money, fast. What do we get from the nationalized banks as interest? A mere 5%-7%, whereas Anubhav was paying 21-24% interest. ‘

(Source: Excerpts- Free case studies- www.icmrindia.org)

39 Responses to “Planting the Dream: The Anubhav Plantations Scam”

  1. inder pal singh said

    i have invested about 50000/rs. if any body help. 09811270027 delhi

  2. inder pal singh said

    i have invested about 50000/rs. if any body help.please contact 09811270027 delhi

  3. I invested 30,200/- Thrity thousand two hundred with Anubhav Plantations Ltd. Please help.
    Dr Agnes Wanglat
    9862046101

  4. PREMA PURUSHOTHAMAN said

    I had invested Rs.50000 with parasrampuria plantations for their teak project for which they had allotted some number of trees!! as mine. This was in the year 1992/93.. will someone probe the fate of my investment?

  5. DEEPAK said

    pl. let me know the procidure for panding payment

  6. vikram nigam said

    Dear sir
    plz invsetment status….?
    App no-188617
    C.code-DL05G0400

    New Add-74Cannt
    kanpur-208004 (U.P.)
    Mob No-9616794381

  7. ravi j said

    dear sirs:

    I HAVE MADE COMPLAINT ON ANUBHAT PLANTATIONS IN THE YEAR 2010.

    KINDLY TEL ME THE STATUS .

    RAVI J.

  8. sachin said

    i had invested rs.10000 in anubhav plantation ltd in year of 1997 if anybody help plz contact 09887202583 jaipur

  9. neeraj said

    i have invested 400000 in anubhav plantation ltd i want to know how i can redeem my money.

  10. Pradeep Madan Rao said

    I have deposited 50,000/-in anubhav agro and Housing developers in 1997,please let me know if government is helping in getting back my hard earned money . M.M.Rao.,Mumbai Mobile No 9892613120.

  11. T Mallikarjuna Sharma said

    I have deposited 30,000/- in Anubhav Teak plantations in 1997, Please let me know if government is helping in getting back my hard earned money.T.M.Sharma, Nandikotkur, Mobile No.9000495490

  12. NARENDRA MATANGE said

    My wife, Mrs Jyoti Matange, invested (in March 1997) Rs 40,000/= in Anubhav’s GOOD EARTH UNITS-2 (Teak Certificate) vide cert number MR01 / NG / 100 086, wherein in the certificate, it mentions “date Of Expiry” of the scheme as 01 March 2017.

    Nearly ALL (except first one or two) POST DATED CHEQUES issued by the company have BOUNCED.

    I have read somewhere that CLAIMS can be lodged (possibly basis Madras High-Court orders in this regard) by inverstors for recovering their hard earned monies.

    Can someone guide what is the PROCEDURE, which is the address to which claims are to be sent, what documents must be sent, etc etc??

    (Narendra) Matange

  13. RAHUL said

    MY GRAND FATHER INVESTED SOME MONEY IN YOUR COMPANY ANUBHAV PLANTATION SINCE 1994
    I HAVE LOST SOME PAPERS SO PLEASE GUIDE ME ABOUT THIS
    PHONE NO. 9871420213

  14. Bhupendranath Mandal said

    Could you please tell me whether we can get the refund of invested money?
    I have invested approx 25000.00

    BNMandal.USA

  15. ashiwn said

    Sirs:

    Please advice what I should do with my share certificate of Anubhav Plantations Ltd ( Agro 1500 & Teak Deposit).

    Its been ages and I have not heard anything about this.

    Your Kind attention to this will be very much appreciated.

    Vanita Gupta & Rashmi Gupta
    9381019941/9381351000

  16. s. ashok kumar said

    SIR
    I HAVE INVESTED RUPEES TWENTY THOUSAND IN ANUBHAV TEAK PLATATION IN GOOD EARTH UNITS-2
    ITS HAVE BEEN 13 YEARS PASSED. KINDLY REPLAY WHAT TO DO.

    YOUR KIND ATTENTION TO THIS WILL BE VERY MUCH APPRECIATED.

    ASHOK KUMAR S AND SAROJINI
    9008803858

  17. i have invested in anubhav teak.i do not know where from i can get refund.

  18. R.P.SINGH said

    i am a invester in anubhav plantation i had invested Rs.54000. please tell me how i can get my money back?

  19. I have been exploring for a little bit for any high quality articles or weblog posts in this sort of house . Exploring in Yahoo I ultimately stumbled upon this website. Studying this information So i am happy to convey that I’ve a very just right uncanny feeling I came upon exactly what I needed. I such a lot indisputably will make sure to don?t disregard this web site and give it a glance regularly.

  20. sushmita deepak chikorde said

    I am sushmita deepak chikorde /Deepak m.chikorde had invested money in anubhav teak planation nearly Rs 15000 in 1996 but still i have not received any information from anubhav plantation .please return money with interest and present status my address
    sushmita chikorde ( sister tutor )
    nurses home
    school of nursing
    L.T.M.G. HOSPITAl
    sion Mumbai 400022
    email-sushmitachikorde@gmail.com

  21. SANJAY AGRWAL said

    i hv invested Rs 6000/- on dt.20/3/96 vide recpt no.pl 86134 and vide recpt no.pl 43122 dt.9.4.96 rs.3000/-
    pl advice

  22. Ajay said

    We have invested 15,000 on 1993. Heard that Madras High court has appointed a liquidator to refund the amount… What is the latest news on this.

    If anybody has any information on this, please post the details.

  23. harwinder singh delhi said

    i invwested two lakh. its gambel ,its over . cant find any one rupee

  24. nooruddin said

    hv invested Rs 3000/- on dt.10/08/95 vide recpt no.397119 pl advice

  25. yuvy said

    i hav invested in anubhav plantations at 1992… wat is the procedure to get money plz contact if u know without fail. my email id yuvaraj.ada@gmail.com

  26. Nikesh Madnani said

    i have invested Rs 8000/- during 1992 Please let me the procedure to get money Please contact at my email id nikeshmadnani@yahoo.com

  27. nujufas said

    My dad have invested around 27000, There is a letter from Anubhav plantations promising hastening the land registration. I do not know whether or where the land is registered. Can anyone help me. mail: nujufas@gmail.com

  28. S.ASHOKKUMAR said

    Respected sir
    I have invested rupees 20000 twety thousand on teak plantation and documets were sent to me and divided warrants . But till now no
    reply or any information regarding the teak plantation from anubhav. I have invested during the period of 1998-99. Any information may
    please intimated to below address. Thanks

  29. SK Bajaj said

    Dear Sir
    I invested around 5 lacs in Anubhav Group in 1995. But, I did not recd. anything from them. Please help me if you can. Call- 1414106272 or mail me at surendrabajaj@gmail.com

  30. beniwal said

    please help recover money invested in Parasrampuria plantation ltd mumbai. please give their latest address and telephone number to: beniwalg@ymail.com

  31. Chandrakumar a k said

    Where is this Big Cheat & Duper Anubhav Natesan Now?
    What is to be done to get back the money invested in the AnuBhav group? I’ve also invested Rs 40000/=
    I understand that some legal entity is commissioned to look into the Scam.

    can anybody give me the Information to my e-mail ID: ak_chandar@rediffmail.com ?

    Regards…..Chandrakumar a k

  32. sudheer shetty said

    I have also invested in anubhav group.how can I claim my money.
    can anyone give me information to my e-mail ID:sudhi309@gmail.com

  33. S. Parasuraman said

    I have also invested Rs.15000 in Anubhav good earth units with receipt no. 053763 dtd 07.07.1995 and 069032 dtd 07/10/1995. Can anybody help in this regard?

    S. Parasuraman,
    09969492950.

  34. Saaransh said

    Hello I had invested Rs 15,000/- and had to be given back Rs 30,000/- as per the maturity date and still haven’t got any legal letter stating to claim my money.
    Please help me in the same.
    +91 9810110526

  35. lalit said

    Address:
    THE OFFICIAL LIQUIDATOR,
    HIGH COURT, MADRAS
    O/o. OFFICIAL LIQUIDATOR
    CORPORATE BHAVAN, 2ND FLOOR,
    NO.29, RAJAJI SALAI, CHENNAI – 600 001
    PH.: 044 2527 1149 / 044 25271151
    FAX: 044 25271152
    Email id: ol-chennai-mca@nic.in

    Pl contact the above and see ig you can file the claim

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