Pharis Aboobacker, the current Vice Chairman of Rashtra Deepika Ltd, which publishes Deepika Daily, has been served with writ summons from Singapore in a charity fund scandal worth S$ 5.28 Million. Mr Pharis, is a friend of Mr. T.T.Durai, the former Chairman of National Kidney Foundation, Singapore and a business associate of Ms Chua, another member on the board. Pharis is a Calicut based new billionaire, who is reportedly having strong political clout in the state and national level. During the BJP rule, the news paper believed to have recruited many Sangh Parivar scribes to protect its business interests. Loss making Indiavision Television Channel is also allegedely under the take over threat of him.
Deepika is the first Malayalam daily established in 1887. After a takeover by few business men, the newspaper lost its credibility as an independant media. Pharis is a close friend of the influential Christian Bishop of Kerala, Mar Mathew Arakkal, who is serving as the Chairman of Rashtra Deepika Publishing Company. Its director board also include, Mr. Joy Alukkas, the owner of Dubai based Alukkas Jewellery. Mr Pharis is named in the suit as the fifth defendant in NFK scandal which rocked the national politics of Singapore. A full independent audit on its finances was conducted by KPMG, and a 442-page report released on 19 December 2005 revealed several malpractices by the former NKF board and management. On 17 April 2006, Durai was arrested and charged under the Prevention of Corruptions Act by the Police.
Pharis also serve as a Business Advisor to the Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, along with T.T.Durai, Former NKF chairman, Singapore. GLI panel include industrialists like Ratan Tata, Madhur Bajaj, Kumaramangalam, K.B.Chandrasekhar, John Fisher, Jamshyd Godrej, G.P.Goenka, Deshbandhu Gupta, Dr Abid Hussain, T.Kannan and others.
Pharis Aboobacker found in India, served writ of summons over NKF case
By Pearl Forss, 07 June 2006, Channel NewsAsia
SINGAPORE : Pharis Aboobacker, who is being sued by the new National Kidney Foundation (NKF) to recover S$5.28 million paid to three of his firms, has been found in India and served the writ of summons. The Indian national is a friend of former NKF CEO T T Durai.
His company Forte Systems and Protonweb Solutions had entered into contracts with NKF worth millions and were paid even when software was not delivered on time.
When the KPMG report on NKF was made public, Pharis was not in Singapore and could not be contacted.
Three weeks ago, lawyers for the new NKF obtained a writ to serve it on him overseas, and last week Pharis was located in Chennai, where the writ of summons was served.
If Pharis does not come back to Singapore, a judgement can be made against him by default.
NKF will then have to decide if they will proceed to take legal action in India's courts. – CNA/ms
New NKF seeks over S$12m in damages from Durai, four others
Channel News Asia, May 23, 2006
THE new National Kidney Foundation (NKF) management is seeking more than S$12 million in damages in a civil suit against its former chief, three former directors, and a business associate.
Lawyers explain that several unquantifiable claims, upon assessment before the courts, could tip the scales beyond S$12 million.
All the claims were detailed in an 85-page statement to the High Court on April 24, and NKF lawyers Allen & Gledhill say unquantifiable ones make up a substantial portion of it.
The new NKF claims it suffered losses not only through improper payments, but also in its credibility, resulting in a drop in donations and support from volunteers and agencies.
The charity alleges that the loss of its reputation and goodwill in the eyes of the public has resulted in a drop in donations from existing donors as well as those who had cancelled regular donations.
Projects such as the charity shows were also affected and there has been a drop in the number of volunteers and support from medical, government agencies, and corporations, both within Singapore and abroad.
It was therefore seeking compensation for breach of duty from the five defendants, TT Durai, Richard Yong, Matilda Chua, Loo Say San, and Pharis Aboobacker.
Said defence lawyer K Shanmugam, "Part of it is quantified; part of it is unquantified. Some parts of it, NKF has put a dollar claim — what is the claim amount — and some part of it is a matter for the court to make an assessment after hearing evidence as to how much is the damages."
The quantifiable claims alone amount to:
+ S$2.1 million in salaries, bonuses and other benefits "improperly" paid to Durai;
+ S$4.08 million for loss of donations in the form of Lifedrops income;
+ Over S$556,000 in legal costs incurred when Durai and the old NKF brought a defamation suit against Singapore Press Holdings;
– And S$5.28 million paid to three companies linked to Pharis Aboobacker.
Mr Pharis, a friend of Durai, is in India, where relevant authorities are in the process of serving him the writ of summons.
He is the last of the five defendants to be told he is being sued by the new NKF.
Durai has been given additional two weeks, till May 31, to file his defence.
Richard Yong and Loo Say San filed their defence last Friday, while Matilda Chua is expected to do it at the start of the week.
Failure to file by the stipulated time would allow lawyers for the new NKF to apply for judgment against the relevant defendants.
Channel NewsAsia understands the trial is expected to begin in six to nine months.
Meantime, the criminal cases against Durai, Yong, Chua, Loo, and former NKF staff Ragini Vijayalingam will be mentioned again on June 19 at the Subordinate Courts.
At the pre-trial conference on Monday, the defence asked the prosecution for more documents pertaining to the charges. – CNA /ct
Channel News Asia Story on NKF Kidney Scandal
Justice for NKF Donors
National Kidney Foundation Singapore scandal, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
National Kidney Foundation, Singapore
Petition Online on NKF Scandal
About Pharis ABoobacker
Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai.
Proton Web Solutions, Chennai
MGM Pillai, Malaysia Based Malayali Journalist