Prashant Dayal, Ahmedabad: For the past two days, newspapers and other media outlets have been singing paeans about a Surat-based diamond merchant for giving away shiny new cars and flats as bonuses for Diwali. 600 employees, mostly diamond polishers working for Hare Krishna Exports, the firm owned by diamond trader Savji Dholakia, received keys to their new cars on Thursday in a grand ceremony in Surat, which was addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi by video conferencing alongside religious leaders Morari Bapu and Ramesh Oza. All these eminent personalities heaped praises on Dholakia for the grand gesture towards his employees. But turns out, the truth is something very different.

According to information accessed by us, the employees of Hare Krishna Exports are paid their salaries under the cost to company (CTC) rule. Which means it is pre-decided that how much each employee would receive as a salary in a year. Every month, a specific amount is deducted from the salaries of the employees as a part of the CTC under the head of bonus. This lump sum amount is then paid to the automobile firm as a down payment for the car that is supposed to be ‘gifted’ to the employee. Hence, the claim that Dholakia gave away cars as a bonus to his employees turned out to be the half-truth.

As a matter of fact, all the 600 cars bought for the employees have been registered under the name of Dholakia’s firm. Those employees, who were selected to receive the cars, were made to sign a bond for a period of five years. The employees cannot leave their jobs at the firm for the next five years and will also have to share the burden of at least half the monthly installments to be paid for the cars. It is also revealed that because the firm bought these vehicles in bulk, they’ve received a discount of Rs 80,000 on each car. And as all the 600 cars are registered in the firm’s name and paid the GST for it, it will receive the tax credit for the same.

Dholakia has been successful in creating an image of a generous boss who loves his workers, who had no clue that the grand bonuses doled out to them is actually their own hard-earned money. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi failed to notice that the diamond trader got him to give an impetus to his (Dholakia’s) goodwill by making him address the firm’s employees. When Dholakia was asked about this, he flew into a rage and said that this is an attempt at maligning his image, while national and international media have been praising his employee welfare initiative. He further claimed that his company would be paying the full cost of the cars gifted to his employees.

In 2017, Dholakia’s firm was slapped with a huge fine for failing to deposit the provident fund amount deducted from the salaries of his employees to the government.

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