June 27, 2020

Azim Premji, wife move Supreme Court against summons

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The development comes after a trial court issued summons on a complaint filed by an NGO against the merger of three companies

Wipro promoter Azim Premji and his wife Yaseem have moved the Supreme Court seeking cancellation of summons by a Bengaluru court against merger of three firms owned by the Premji group. The development comes after a trial court issued summons on a complaint filed by an NGO against the merger of three companies – Vidya, Regal and Napean – with Hasham Investment and Trading Company, Times of India reported.

Earlier, the Karnataka High court had dismissed their plea in the case accusing them of illegally transferring assets from three firms into a private trust and a new company. The case filed by Chennai-based NGO India Awake for Transparency accused Premji of merging companies in 2014 without following the due process.

“Three companies, which were formed in 1974 and whose shareholdings were interlinked in 1980 that any of the two owned the third one, were merged with Hasham in 2015 after the RBI gave in-principle approval followed by the Karnataka High Court’s green signal to the merger scheme,” the daily reported citing Premji’s advocate Mahesh Agrawal as saying.

The petitioners suspect that the complaint may be the result of a business partnership with Subhiksha’s R Subramanian going wrong. “A Premji group firm had to file criminal complaints against a Subramanian-owned company for bouncing of cheques worth crores of rupees in 2013, which is still pending. Agrawal claimed the criminal complaints filed by NGO ‘India Awake Transparency’ was masterminded by Subramanian nearly three years after the merger took place,” the daily also reported.

Meanwhile, Azim Premji, Founder Chairman and  Rishad Premji, Chairman of Wipro, have both taken a voluntary cut in their compensation for the fiscal year 2020, according to the recent filing made to the Securities Exchange Commission in the US. While Azim Premji has foregone the profit linked commission payable, Rishad Premji has foregone both the variable pay and the profit-linked commission payable to him.

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