Seventy-seven-year-old jewellery brand Nathella has shut shop due to a financial crunch, closingseven branches across the Tamil Nadu, prompting customers to lodge a complaint against the company and its management. They have been gathering outside the company's outlets, seeking repayment of their deposits for a few days now.
Two days back, a few customers lodged a complaint against the Tambaram branch for defrauding them of their deposits against gold saving schemes.
Media reports said at least 53 of Nathella's customers lodged a police complaint at Tambaram police station, accusing the company of defrauding them to the tune of Rs 17.57 lakh. The police arrested the company's manager, and the case is likely to be transferred to Central Crime Branch (CCB).
The customers claim that though that had paid monthly instalments, they were unable to buy any jewellery.
The management has said that steps are being taken to clear the dues.
Reports said S Mahalakshmi, a resident of West Mambalam, had tried to convert the gold bought at Nathella into cash for her personal needs. "When I approached their T Nagar branch, they said they could give a cheque after two months due to cash crunch. Since it was an emergency I had to sell gold to a local pawn dealer at a lower rate," she told media.
Posters have also been put up at the stores about the financial crunch, assuring customers that cash would be repaid.
The management said it various issues, including business loss, led to the financial crunch. There are plans to reopen the branches 0- five in Chennai and one each in Vellore and Hosur -- in a few days.
N Prappana Kumar, managing director of Nathella Jewellery, was quoyed as saying, "We are selling our ancestral property to settle customers' dues, particularly those who invested in the gold saving schemes. We are also planning to reach out through mails. We hope to settle dues in a couple of weeks."