Franklin Templeton says yet to see FIR in Rs 28,000 cr scam

Following the registration of an FIR by the Chennai Police, Franklin Templeton has responded for the first time by saying they have not yet seen the copy of the FIR.

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Chennai Police has registered a first information report (FIR) against the beleaguered Franklin Templeton Asset Management India Pvt Ltd (FTAMIL) and Franklin Templeton Trustee Services Pvt. Ltd. (FTTSPL) for hatching criminal conspiracy to defraud three lakh investors by causing wrongful loss to them and unlawful gain to themselves by committing various offences under the IPC.

The FIR also names Santosh Das Kamath, MD and Chief Investment Officer, FTAMIL, Sanjay V. Sapre, whole time member, FTAMIL, and their directors Jayaram Subramaniam Iyer, Vivek Kudva, R.V. Subramaniam, Pradip P. Shah among others.

The EOW registered the FIR after investigating a complaint filed by the Chennai Financial Markets & Accountability (CFMA), the investors’ group, and few others with EOW in Chennai in May this year in the interest of millions of aggrieved investors of Franklin Templeton whose over Rs 28,000 crore is stuck because the fund house abruptly closed down its six debt schemes in April this year.

The response of Franklin Templeton to the FIR has been to say that they are yet to see the copy. It also said that the Chennai Financial Markets & Accountability (CFMA) has levelled various misleading and baseless allegations.

A Franklin Templeton spokesperson said regarding the FIR registered in Chennai, “We have not seen a copy of the First Information Report (FIR) and are not in a position to comment on specific details”.

It said the CFMA has levelled baseless allegations. “The press release issued by CFMA citing the FIR, is replete with various misleading and baseless allegations, besides being inappropriate, as the matter is currently sub-judice. We are not aware of the antecedents of CFMA and as admitted by them in their original complaint, none of their members were unitholders in the six impacted schemes”, the spokesperson added.

“Mutual Funds are well regulated and assets of these schemes are held with registered custodians. Portfolios of these schemes retain value according to their respective NAVs, which are published daily based on the valuation of two reputed independent valuation agencies. We have already communicated the reasons for winding up (specifically the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic) and request our investors not to be swayed by unverified or speculative reports in the media. We continue to cooperate fully with all regulatory authorities”, the fund said.

“We continue to follow due process, both in making investment decisions and in the winding up of these schemes. We have acted in the best interest of our investors and in accordance with all regulations in this regard. Our focus remains on maximizing value for unitholders in these schemes and returning monies as soon as possible”, Franklin Templeton spokesperson said.