The Anubhav Plantations Scam|Finance|Case Study|Case Studies

The Anubhav Plantations Scam

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Case Details:

Case Code : FINC009
Case Length : 11 Pages
Period : 1992 - 1998
Pub. Date : 2002
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Anubhav Group, Anubhav Plantations
Industry : Agriculture, Farming & Fishing, Financial Services
Countries : India

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"You are giving deposits because you trust me. Leave it at that."

- C. Natesan, Chairman, Anubhav Group, in 1998.

The Doomed Depositors

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.1

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.

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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 crore.

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...

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1] In a plantation scheme, a company invited people to invest money in 'teak-units,' and assured them a specified quantum of teak (or cash) as returns after a specified lock-in period, which was usually very long. Typically, an investment of Rs 1275 in a teak tree fetched Rs 62,000 or 37.5 cubic feet of teak at the expiry of 20 years. There were slight variations in the offers made by different teak plantation companies. Some companies offered interim returns also, usually after a 5-6 year gap.


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