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Will Neetish Sarda arrest suspend Smartworksgrowth?

In the abetment of suicide case of Anvay Naik and his mother over alleged non-payment of dues by companies of the accused, Neetish Sarda was arrested on November 4. One of the three accused, Sarda is the son of Kolkata’s Jute king Ghanshyam Sarda and owner of Rs 2500 crore Sarda Industries.

Sarda is the founder of Smartworks that was established in 2016; it is India’s largest provider of tailor-made, flexible workspace, with a footprint of more than 1.2 million sq. ft. across 15 locations in 9 cities (Delhi NCR, Kolkata, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune). He was also named as the Promising Entrepreneurs of India 2019 by one of the leading publications of India.

Though his name appeared on the suicide letter, not much has come out of his role in the suicide. The total amount to be paid by the three accused was Rs 5.4 crore. Out of the total amount due, Sarda had to pay Rs 55 lakh to Naik.

Anvay Naik and his mother committed suicide in 2018 after which Naik’s widow – Akshata Naik — filed the complaint. Akshata and her daughter Adnya Naik allege that they were under tremendous pressure to withdraw the complaint and were also threatened with dire consequences.

The role of Sarda has not come out in all this. The company of Neetish Sarda, Smartworks has reportedly raised $25 million from Singapore-based Keppel Land in November 2019, and Sarda in many interviews has claimed that post-COVID his company will be about expansion and acceleration. In fact, last month it was reported that Smartworks leased more than 2 lakh sq ft, which rules out any sort of cash crunch in the company. Then, why the man who was planning to expand his business at a volcanic pace could not pay Rs 55 lakh to Naik?


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