Sikkim private company caught in “illegal gambling”, 80 plus employees denied salary

Thursday, Sep 21, 2023 08:00 [IST]

Last Update: Thursday, Sep 21, 2023 02:24 [IST]

Sikkim private company caught in “illegal gambling”, 80 plus employees denied salary


GANGTOK,: Over 80 employees of Everest Business Concepts Private Limited based in Gangtok with a parent company in Haridwar, Dehradun have cried foul against the company for “forceful termination and refusal to give salaries”.  The employees held a press conference here on Wednesday claiming, “the company was illegal and not coming to terms with the agreement to pay them 3 months of salaries”.

Addressing the media, one of the employees stated: "The company was functioning for two years till August 22, until it was raided by Sikkim Police on the pretext of running online gaming and gambling. Goods and belongings of the company were seized but no arrest were made. The company was even given the license by the State Urban Development department and the same was renewed on two occasions by the State department".

On the job profile of the employees, one of them stated, “We knew the job profile as most of us were card dealers and online gaming conductors, but upon being raided we learned it was illegal. The same was not mentioned to us when we were hired, nor was it mentioned in our appointment contracts.”

The employees further mentioned that their services being terminated was informed through the company's WhatsApp group from August 22.

“We were initially promised that the company will once again open on August 31, but that didn't happen. We were convinced that our salaries would be given but then they made an agreement within the company without consultation with us employees. They stated they would be issuing our salaries for two months, but when we placed our demand for 3 months’ salary as per company's rule or in one go for all three months, they refused to take our calls", said another employee.

Out of desperation, some of the employees filed a general diary at Gangtok Sadar Police Station on September 14, but the same has also not meted any solution for the employees.

“They have told they will give the payment on salary basis. When there is no employee, how can you give on salary basis? They are misleading, saying different things on different occasions. We didn't agree with the agreement. It should have been consulted with the employees but just made 3-4 pages agreement papers. We are not allowed to speak to third party, nor file a complaint in police or file a case in court, we cannot process legal procedure, says the termination agreement”, mentioned another employee.

Another employee highlighted how the terminated employees are being made to pay 24 per cent interest back to the company from the promised payment. They informed that the company on a monthly basis promised salary payment through cheque or bank account for other months, but they were largely paid in cash. For initial six months, the employees were hired on the basis of on-the-job training mode, where they were given Rs. 10,000 as salary. Following the six-month training, they were given appointment orders along with a salary of Rs. 15,000 with the contract stating that they cannot leave the company for the next two years.

The employees further stated, "The company owners are in Delhi or somewhere outside saying they are unable to come. When company doesn't exist why give us salary? If it's salary basis we will continue to be an employee. Many were supposed to get promotions, hike in salary, Diwali bonuses in the coming months. If they want to run as per company, we will also run as per company. We will also keep an advocate and work out an agreement.”

The employees also informed how many employees were called individually called and manipulated to come to terms with the agreement. Around 10 of them have signed the agreement, they said.

“The company had told us old employees nothing can be done. They urged us to find another job or to go make an appeal to the government.  Some are college graduates, some have family dependent on the salary, and some are still students. We were shown the dream for a future. There was no termination letter given, but we were terminated verbally, over a WhatsApp group.”

The employees have demanded to issue the salary in the next 10 days if it will be issued at one time installment. If the salaries are given on multiple instalments carrying on over the next few months, they have demanded the monthly appraisals and festive bonuses for Dasain and Diwali to also be included in the installments.

The last salary withdrawn by the employees were for the month of August.

“We are hopeful that this address will give us justice or we will take the matter to court”, said the employees.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi