The AskMe saga is getting more sordid by the day.
The company, which is accused of non-payment of INR 100-150 Cr of dues and has left more than 4000 employees astray, has now been threatened by an unnamed employee with suicide if it fails to pay salaries within the next five days.
The development reported in NextBigWhat states that the employee has written a note to the senior management about his intentions. It states,
“It has been more than 70 days now and yet our salary is not credited. Do you have any sense of what we all go through? Every single day is hard for survival. We have tried all the ways to communicate to the management and yet no action taken which has forced me to take this decision which will destroy me and my family completely.”
The employee further adds that he doesn’t care what Getit and Astro are up to; for him his survival is important. Consequently, he states,
“So I have reached a point where in I will kill myself after 5 days if no communication is made from your side on grounds of our salary. And all, including management of Getit, Astro, and Sanjeev Gupta will be held responsible for this.”
He concludes that if he doesn’t get the salary, the management is most welcome at the funeral.
The letter refers to the escalating clash between AskMe and its investor Astro, with AskMe taking the battle to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). According to the petition filed, AskMe Group MD Sanjeev Gupta has asked the NCLT to issue an order to maintain the status quo, preserving the present status of assets available with the company. Additionally,
AskMe wants the NCLT to direct Astro to refrain from diluting its stake in AskMe and for not to change the board of the company. As a final blow, the AskMe MD also wanted to initiate a management buyout, which never took place.
As per the petition, Astro owes $50 Mn (INR 300 Cr) to the company and AskMe is looking forward to use the funds and provide relief to the employees with the help of the NCLT. Enraged vendors have also approached the Economic Offences Wing to register a case against the company. The vendors have filed a written complaint naming 12 top executives of Malaysia-based Astro Group and AskMeBazaar officials. Last week, vendors along with its employees also gathered outside the Noida office to protest.
The Gurgaon-based consumer Internet search platform which shut down its operations last month has left more than 4000 employees, vendors, and other creditors in a state of despair. Earlier in August, they wrote an open letter to Astro Holding’s head requesting the release of the salaries for the month of July. Even Rajya Sabha member and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had sought the intervention of Ministry of Corporate Affairs, to stop AskMe from shutting down its business last month.
Meanwhile, the NCLT has stopped Getit Infoservices from shutting down its ecommerce websites – AskMeBazaar, AskMeGrocery and Mebelkart last week. However, it remains to be seen how the payment issue of the salaries of the hapless employees and vendors will be resolved.