A magistrate court on Wednesday issued a non-bailable warrant against Cafe Coffee Day Group Director Malavika Hegde, in a cheque bounce case in Chikkamagalur. The former wife of V G Siddhartha, who had been chairman of the company before his death, is among other top functionaries against whom warrants have been issued due to continued defaults in payments of coffee-growers.
"On 6th October they were summoned to be appear before the court. since they failed to do so, the court issued the non-bailable warrants against 8 persons - the company as a respondent, its MD and CEO, its Director Malavika, and other functionaries like CFO," said lawyer Halekoti Tejasvi, fighting on behalf of Nandish, one of the coffee-growers who had approached the JMFC court in Mudigere.
Other coffee-growers in Chikkamaglur and Mudigere are fighting with the same complaint. Tejasvi is handling the cases of about twelve growers who had received payment cheques worth Rs 30 to 50 lakhs.
"These cheques were issued after Siddhartha, but were not honoured. The NBW has been issued but is yet to be executed. The other cases are at different stages, for example, summons issued in some of them," he said.
K Nandish, the plantation owner who had gone to court in this case, said the company had given him cheques for Rs 45 lakh. About ten per cent of these dues have been cleared by the Amalgamated Bean Company, the holding company of the CCD group.
"We have been supplying coffee to the company for many years. He used to give us deferred cheques with an interest of 10 to 12 per cent so that the cheques could be honoured after he gets sufficient funds. After his unfortunate death, his wife had told us that clearing coffee growers dues would be priority for the company," he said.
He said the planters had already waited for many months so the company could work out its finances, but after receiving no money, decided to approach the courts.
"According to the company's representative who was deputed to talk to us all, there are dues to about hundreds of people in Chikmaglur and in Hassan, which they are trying to sort out. But we don't know what is happening," he said.
A CCD spokesperson in a statement said: "We had outstanding payments to 1,020 coffee planters of Chickmagalur and Hassan one year back. We have fully paid back 700+ planters in the last 11 months. We have also made part payments to the remaining planters. The group's fund raising plans were hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic and hence the delay in completing the payments. But we remain committed to meeting all our obligations."