R Subramanian, the founder of the Subhiksha group of retail stores, has issued an apology for harassment caused to Premji, his wife Yasmeen Premji and a few others.

Azim PremjiFile image | PTI
news Court Thursday, May 05, 2022 - 09:55

After a maze of frivolous litigation cases against Azim Premji and others was recently closed by the Supreme Court, R Subramanian — former head of retail chain Subhiksha who had filed the cases — has issued a public apology for “harassing” the ex-Wipro chairman and others. Subramanian and his associate, representatives of India Awake for Transparency, were convicted for contempt of court by the Karnataka High Court for filing frivolous cases against Wipro Limited founder and chairman Azim Premji, between April 2016 and December 2020.

His public apology, which was published in most national dailies, said that Subramanian offered an “unconditional and unreserved apology” for harassment caused to Premji, his wife Yasmeen Premji, the management of Wipro, along with a few others. “I categorically admit that all these proceedings/ complaints/ representations, and the allegations contained therein were founded on incorrect understanding of facts and legal provisions and the same should never have been made at all,” it states. Subramanian further said that following an undertaking to the Supreme Court, he would not file any further litigation under any grounds against Premji and others.

Subhiksha once had over 2,000 stores across the country, before the chain collapsed in 2009. A few months before the chain’s collapse, Azim Premji had bought a 10% stake in Subhiksha in 2008 through his personal investment arm. Things later went awry as Subhiksha struggled to operate its stores and reportedly defaulted on vendor payments. According to reports, Azim Premji had then said that “investing in Subhiksha was a mistake and a lot of money has been siphoned off”. Subramanian has faced several cases since then, and has also slapped several on Azim Premji. In 2013, Subramanian even filed a Rs 500 crore defamation suit on Premji.

Subramanian, who now heads the NGO India Awake for Transparency, had filed a complaint in a Bengaluru trial court alleging illegality in the transfer of assets worth Rs 45,000 crore from three companies to a private trust and a newly formed company. Premji and others had challenged the high court order of May 15 last year which had rejected their pleas for quashing the January 27, 2021 summons issued by the trial court. Later, on October 5, the top court had extended the stay on criminal proceedings against Premji, his wife, and others on their plea seeking quashing of summons issued by the Bengaluru court on a "frivolous" and "mischievous" complaint filed by an NGO alleging breach of trust and corruption in the merger of three companies with a Premji group firm.

In his affidavit to the High Court in March 2022, Subramanian had issued an apology to the court. The court had sentenced him to two months’ simple imprisonment and a fine of Rs 2,000, as he and his associate were convicted of contempt of court.

With PTI inputs

Topic tags,
Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.