Retail major Subhiksha Trading Services, whose business has come to a standstill due to liquidity crunch, today said around 600 of its stores and warehouses across the country have been vandalised in the past few days.
Several of the company’s properties, including the ones at Noida, South Delhi and Nashik, were vandalised and its warehouse in Ahmedabad ransacked on February 6.
“Around 600 of our stores have been targeted by unidentified elements and there has been large-scale looting and ransacking,” Subhiksha Trading Services Managing Director R Subramanian said.
He said the company’s properties became vulnerable as it had not been able to make payments to security agencies and staff, thus leaving the stores and warehouses unprotected.
“The company seems unable to protect its properties as due to non-payment to security agencies and staff, the properties have become vulnerable targets for looters,” he said.
Asked about the identity of the suspects involved in the vandalisation, Subramanian said, “At a time when our business is at a standstill and our properties unprotected, any anti-social element could target them.”
He said the company had taken steps to protect its assets.
“We are taking all steps to protect our assets and we are in touch with our bankers (to whom the assets at the stores/ warehouses are hypothecated) to get them to help in ensuring that this large-scale looting is stopped and does not further spread to the rest of stores. It is really sad that we have been unable to prevent this so far,” Subramanian said.
In the meantime, the company said that it has not been able to register any FIR or seek police action because of fear of backlash from its own staff.
“Company staff, who are fed up due to non-payment of salaries for four months, are in no mood to file complaints on behalf of the company, as they believe that they may be targeted for violence by the looters,” Subhiksha said in a statement.
“It is also not clear whether the looting has been done by disgruntled vendors or employees or by anti-social elements, who are taking advantage of the situation. In some cases, even property owners are learnt to have broken the locks and taken away the assets of the company, as they know that there is nobody to defend the company’s property,” the company added.