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Angry 'Maytas victims' gherao Salman Khursheed

Last updated on: January 7, 2010 21:05 IST

Angry 'Maytas victims' gherao Salman Khursheed

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Prasanna D Zore in New Delhi

Minister for Corporate and Minority Affairs Salman Khursheed may have done a superb job of handling the Satyam fiasco, but he was put in a spot on Thursday by angry NRIs who wore T-shirts reading: Victims of Maytas.

However, the minister's assurances helped soothe their ruffled feathers.

A group of five NRIs who have made the full payment to purchase houses in Maytas Hill County, Hyderabad, a Rs 1,100 crore (Rs 11 billion) project promoted by Maytas Properties, are yet to get possession of their dream home and they were not taking it lying down.

As soon as Salman Khursheed came out of Hall No. 6 at Vigyan Bhavan, this group of five harangued him, seeking redressal for their grievances. Click NEXT to read further. . .


Image: Angry NRIs gheraoing Minister for Corporate and Minority Affairs Salman Khursheed.
Photographs: Reuben Varghese
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Angry 'Maytas victims' gherao Salman Khursheed

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Maytas Properties is the unlisted company promoted by the family of B Ramalinga Raju, the founder and erstwhile chairman of Satyam Computer, who is currently cooling his heels in jail for the Satyam fraud that came to light last January 7.

The angry protesters were requesting the minister to ask banks -- from whom they have borrowed money to buy their homes in Maytas Hill County -- to put a holiday on their EMI payments.

The minister assured them that he would ask the banks to put a moratorium on payments of such EMIs.

"Don't even worry about EMIs because once we tell the banks 'look we sorted this problem and these guys will get their flats in so much time so please go easy', then even the banks will go easy. But today if the banks ask me to give them a deadline, I won't be able to give them a deadline" Khursheed told the angry protesters.


Image: The Maytas victims.
Photographs: Reuben Varghese
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Angry 'Maytas victims' gherao Salman Khursheed

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When rediff.com asked the minister why will the banks follow the government diktat, the minister said: "This is no diktat. I'm just trying to help. The government is just trying to help. The government has a role of dictating, regulating, facilitating and helping. This is no dictation to any bank but just in the way we are concerned the banks will be equally concerned."

"It is a surmountable problem," Khursheed said, assuring that the company will soon complete the construction of the project.

"As of now the project is only 50 per cent complete as the company is finding it difficult to finance the remainder of the project," said Sujani Marisetti, a New Jersey-based professional, who has invested in Maytas Hill County.

According to her over 500 NRIs have invested more than Rs 600 crore (Rs 6 billion) in the project.


Image: Sujani Marisetti
Photographs: Reuben Varghese
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Angry 'Maytas victims' gherao Salman Khursheed

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"I wanted to come here and settle down with my kids but my dreams lay shattered now," said another NRI. "All my money has gone down the drain now," said the distraught NRI.

The pressure exerted by the 'Maytas victims', however, seems to be working. "The government has appointed Ved Jain, an MCA official, to look into the matter," said Aravind Pani who too has invested over $400,000 into the project.

"Ved Jain will speak the language I am speaking," said Khursheed when it was pointed out to him by this angry group that the former was of no help.


Image: The Maytas victims.
Photographs: Reuben Varghese
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Angry 'Maytas victims' gherao Salman Khursheed

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"We will ensure that your project is completed."

"Once the cash begins to come, work will begin immediately," Khursheed assured the angry NRI investors. "These are companies that can complete work very fast but the cash must be there."

When one of the aggrieved NRIs pointed out to the government of Andhra Pradesh's blanket order regarding not registering any of the Maytas Properties, Khursheed said, "It is a minor issue. The important thing is get the construction completed and to take possession of your homes."


Image: The Maytas victims.
Photographs: Reuben Varghese
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