‘How Will I Face My Family?’: Goodwin Investors Recount Ordeal

Shocked to see the firm close its chain across Maharashtra, they are far from convinced by the owners’ video.

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Manu Sarvaiya, a former Kingfisher employee lost his job when the airlines shut down. He was one of the customers of Goodwin Jewellers, but with the latest fiasco, he's facing trouble answering his family on the worsening financial crisis.

“My relatives are not going to help with any more money. I get Rs 2,800 monthly after the airlines shut down. I take up small jobs now. But I cannot manage the family expenses with Rs 6,000 - 7,000 per month. It's leading to clashes in the family. Everybody is upset with me. I get a lot of negative thoughts,” he told The Quint.

Investments for weddings to financial family plans, investors and customers of Goodwin Jewellers were shocked to see the firm close its chain across Maharashtra and are now seeking all possible help by the police and relevant authorities, despite the owners releasing a video to assure customers that their money will be returned.

Goodwin Jewellers shut its outlets in Thane, Palghar and Mumbai region a couple of days before Diwali, leaving hundreds of people, who had invested in their gold and fixed deposit schemes, in the lurch.

The issue came to light in Dombivili where a few duped investors filed the first complaint against owners of the firm A M Sunil Kumar and A M Sudhesh Kumar, following which cases were registered at Manickpur in Vasai (Palghar), Naupada in Thane and Shivaji Nagar in Ambernath.

“I got to know from their Vasai branch that investments can be made here. My sister is getting married next month, so I made investments accordingly. But they suddenly shut down in Diwali and festival season, creating chaos. We have filed a case and have been doing rounds of the police station . But only media exposure can help us get our money back,” said Ashish Kapadia, one of the investors.

Sunil Nakte, a Dombivali resident says he was supposed to get the maturity for his investment in November but he hasn’t told his family about the “scam” yet.

“I have invested Rs 4 lakh with Goodwin Jewellers in the past two years. I was supposed to get the maturity in November, but the stores are closed now,” he said.

“I haven’t told my family about this yet. How will I face them? Despite all the frauds happening, I invested in a private firm. My family will be very upset. That’s why I haven’t told them. The money belonged to me and my father,” he added.

‘Don’t Trust Owners’ Video Assurances’

Releasing a video on social media, Sudhesh Kumar and Sunil Kumar said that they will not let their customers get in trouble and said that they were hiding from “extortionists.” But the customers told The Quint that they aren’t convinced.

“If such things keep happening to the common man, how will the common man live? We trust the police, they will investigate and help us get our money back. I had invested 40-50 thousand,” said Amit Kumar, another resident of Dombivali, who had been investing in Goodwin for the past two years.

Nakte said that he does not trust the owners and wants them to address the customers personally.

“They have released the video and given assurances, but how do we trust them? They should open the shops first and address the customers personally,” he said.

Prakash and Kshitija Sawant, who had invested in Goodwin to get returns for their niece’s wedding, called the video “fake.”

Kapadia said that the police have found the location of the owners to be in Maharashtra and they should be traced at the earliest.

“The owners have assured us that they will return our money but they don't have any source for that. We want them to be caught before they leave Maharashtra,” he said.

Thane Police EOW Wing Takes Over Probe

Thane police's economic offences wing (EOW) has taken over the probe against Goodwin Jewellers for allegedly cheating hundreds of investors of several crore rupees, PTI reported.

The case will now be probed by a team of officers from the EOW, deputy commissioner of police Sanjay Jadhav of the EOW said.

While 28 people have been cheated to the tune of Rs 2.21 crore in Ambernath, in Thane’s Naupada area, a total of 69 people have been duped of Rs 1.63 crore, he added.

The jewellery chain owners, who hail from Kerala, told affected customers that their money was "safe" and promised to return it.

The police have booked the owners and shop managers under sections 420 (cheating) and 406 (criminal breach of trust) of the Indian Penal Code and under relevant sections of Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (in Financial Establishments) Act.

(With inputs from PTI)

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