By Our Correspondent
BHUBANESWAR: The continued raids by the Weigh& Measures officials of Odisha Civil Supplies and Consumer Welfare Department and Legal Meteorology officials have sent a shock wave among officials and owners of Kerala based Kalyan Jewellers, onwed by TS Kalyanaraman
, which has two big showrooms in State including one at Vani Vihar Square in Bhubaneswar and another at Jajpur Road in Jajpur. Other big players like Lalchand , Epari, SENCO, Tanisque, Syndicates and few other are also under scanner.
Sources said, 40 showrooms in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Berhampur, Sambalpur, Balasore and many other big cities of the State were under scanner. Big players like Kalyan Jewellers will face more tough times with officials hinting at a regular raids.
In the recently concluded Odisha State Assembly’s Winter Session, Civil Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain had informed that raids were conducted on 11 jewellery shops in the State in 2018-19 for allegedly cheating customers. In 2017-18, the department had raided 31 shops and collected fines for cheating in weight and measures.
The Minister said six shops were raided in Balasore whereas the officials conducted searches at four and seven shops in Khurda and Cuttack respectively. The Minister Swain had also accepted that the jewellery shops across Odisha are cheating customers in weights and measures. Especially jewellers in Bhubaneswar Cuttack, Berhampur and Balasore are duping buyers the most.
“Assembly Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro directed the government to conduct raids on jewellery shops in Bhubaneswar . As a result of which, raids are going on,” said sources.
Recently, Legal Metrology officials had conducted raids at Kalyan Jewellers in Kurnool and Nellore in Andhra Pradesh.Raids were conducted following several complaints registered against the quantity and quality of gold in these showrooms.
“The Legal Metrology Department officials should examine monthly deposit schemes whether they comply with the Prize Money Chits Banning Act. The Department should also examine whether the schemes were governed by the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Scheme (BUDS) Ordinance of the Central Government,” an activists in Bhubaneswar said.
Meanwhile, London based NGO, Human Right Watch has rated Indian jewellery brands Kalyan Jewellers as being ‘very weak’ in sourcing gold and diamonds from places that ‘are not tainted with human rights abuses’.
30 global brands having a 10 per cent share in global jewellery business were selected on the basis of their domestic and international visibility.
In another controversy several months back, under fire from banking staff for portraying them in “bad light”, Kalyan Jewellers was forced to withdraw an advertisement featuring Amitabh Bachchan and daughter Shweta Bachchan Nanda.
Beyond threats of litigation for “casting aspersions and hurting the sentiments of banking personnel through the advertisement”, the brand value of Kalyan Jewellers had also affected as a result of the controversial ADVT.
Sections of the banking community were making calls on Twitter to boycott Kalyan Jewellers. The fight was led by the All India Bank Officers’ Confederation, an organisation claiming to have a membership of around 3,20,000 bank employees. The association had also threatened to launch an agitation against the jewellery chain.
Last year, Kalyan Jewellers approached Kerala HC after fake news about its gold being fake spreads. Viral video shows jewellery being seized from its stores for being ‘fake’. Another message claims the CEO was arrested in Dubai. The company is claiming damage of Rs 5 bn on its bran. Petition requests the government to regulate platforms for fake news. Also requests for social media companies to remove all incidents of fake news
Kalyan Jewellers is a Kerala-based jewellery retailer with more than 120 showrooms in India and the Gulf. The brand has several high profile ambassadors, including Amitabh Bachchan, Katrina Kaif and Nagarjuna.
In yet another case, Matrimony.com had obtained an interim injunction from the Madras High Court against Kalyan Matrimony, owned by Kalyan Jewellers, and others for infringement of its trademarks through the Google Adwords Programme and in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
How TK Seetharam Iyer, who owns a textile store in Kerala’s Thrissur district but his son , TS Kalyanaraman, chairman and managing director of Kalyan Jewellers, now crorepati. Where is CBI? Where is Enforcement Squad? Where is Income Tax, Sales Tax officials?
Kalyan Jewellers recently had withdrawn the controversial advertisement featuring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. The advertisement drawn huge flak after an open letter described it as ‘insidiously chauvinistic for showing Aishwarya reclining under a parasol held over her head by an ‘a dark-skinned slave-boy’.
“A CBI probe into Company’s business in Bhubaneswar, Jajpur Road in Odisha, other cities in India, Abroad, could unearth Kalyanaraman’s illegal gold-diamond empire from Kerala to Odisha,” added an activist. He further added that, Company’s outlet at Vani Vihar Square ( near Utkal University) and in front of office of Deputy Commissioner of Police under Sahid Nagar Police Station in Bhubaneswar creating a lot of traffic problem and law and order problem during festival seasons.
The shift to jewellery from textile was triggered by illegal business. The Company is evading sales tax, income tax, service tax, export-import duties. A raid by CBI, Enforcement Squad, Income Tax, Sales Tax will expose TS Kalyanaraman’s true face, added a source. Asked about it, a senior Police officer in Bhubaneswar said, matter will be looked into, action will be taken if traffic rule violations found at of Kalyan Jewellers outlet.
In Odisha, the Company opened an outlet in Bhubaneswar, which is facing local resistance for the Company’s low quality product and false publicity using Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya to fool the people of Odisha.Several organizations in Bhubaneswar have warned to oppose Company’s Brand Ambassadors Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya if they came to Odisha for the Company work citing the past controversial advertisements featuring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
The Company false Hallmark print, low quality product and false publicity using advertisements to fool the people of Odisha, will strongly opposed, he added. Most of the Hallmark items should be probed by Indian Bureau of Standards. Company’s weight machine check should probed by weight and measures officials.
TS Kalyanaraman, chairman and managing director of Kalyan Jewellers, had only business asset he inherited from his father, TK Seetharam Iyer, was a textile store in Kerala’s Thrissur district. Starting out as an apparel store in the ’90s, Kalyan’s entrepreneurial journey using illegal means has made it one of India’s largest jewellery chains.Kalyanaraman, 66, has a net worth that is a shade over more than $1.5 billion. He ranked 87 on Forbes’s list of 100 richest Indians in 2014.