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HomeIndiaThe 5 unknown Indian businessmen who top ED’s list of ‘36’ fugitives

The 5 unknown Indian businessmen who top ED’s list of ‘36’ fugitives

After ED mentioned a list of fugitive businessmen to a special court this week, ThePrint lists the top 5 who are believed to be hiding in places such as the Caribbean, Thailand and LA.

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New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate Monday told a special court in the national capital about “36 businessmen” who fled India despite criminal cases against them, piquing the interest of many over the identity of those individuals.

The agency made the statement to the court while opposing the bail plea of Sushen Mohan Gupta, an alleged defence agent in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam.

While the ED didn’t submit a list to the court of the “36 businessmen” it referred to, it can be safely inferred that it was talking about now-infamous names like Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, Lalit Modi and the Sandesara brothers, among others.

In the light of this statement by the probe agency, ThePrint lists five ‘unknown’ businessmen who managed to flee the country after allegedly committing massive frauds, and now top the list of fugitives. Sources within the investigation agencies have provided all the information.

Jatin Mehta: Promoter of Winsome Diamonds Group

In 2013, akin to the Nirav Modi fiasco, a case of bank fraud emerged against Jatin Mehta’s Gujarat-based Winsome Diamond Group.

The group had taken a loan of Rs 6,800 crore from a consortium of banks led by the Standard Chartered Bank, with Punjab National Bank (PNB) loaning the highest amount of Rs 1,800 crore.

The banks had issued standby Letters of Credit (LC) in favour of international banks to supply gold to Winsome Group companies, assuring that branches back in India would pay the dues if Winsome fails to pay.

In 2013, Winsome declared that it would be unable to pay the loans because it was running into losses.

The ED and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a charge sheet against 21 accused in the case, including Mehta, his company, his wife and 15 public servants last year.

The absconding businessman is believed to have gone to St Kitts & Nevis, a Caribbean island that has no extradition treaty with India.

Dharmendra Singh Anand: Close aide of meat exporter Moin Qureshi

A close associate of meat exporter Moin Qureshi, who is an accused in a money laundering case, Dharmendra Singh Anand is a hawala dealer.

In March 2017, the ED started an investigation against Anand in a money laundering case and searches were carried out at his residences from where Rs 3 crore was recovered. He was also accused of carrying out hawala activities on a big scale from Dubai, Hong Kong, China and Thailand. It was alleged that he worked as a hawala trader for Qureshi.

The ED had also filed a case against former CBI director A.P. Singh in the matter.

Anand is suspected to be hiding in Thailand.

Ashish Jobanputra and Priti Jobanputra: Promoters of Ahmedabad-based ABC Cotspin

In a 2017 money laundering case against Ahmedabad-based textile import firm ABC Cotspin, the ED is looking for promoters Ashish Jobanputra and Priti Jobanputra.

In the Rs 800-crore worth fraud case, the company was allegedly availing bill discounting facilities from two banks — State Bank of India (SBI) and Bank of Baroda (BoB) — against LC of other prime banks.

According to investigators, Ashish Jobanputra and his wife siphoned off money out of India on the pretext of exports that never took place.

Ashish Jobanputra allegedly presented export documents to the banks to avail of discounts without really making any export. The bank officials too allegedly discounted the export bills without scrutiny or asking for the shipping bills issued by the customs authorities, which are mandatory at the time of availing this discount.

The businessman and his wife left India soon after the case was registered and the couple is now suspected to be in Los Angeles.

Sabhya Seth: Owner of Delhi-based Dwarka Das Seth International

In 2018, the CBI registered a case against Delhi-based jewelry group Dwarka Das Seth and its directors Sabhya Seth, Reeta Seth, Krishna Kumar Singh and Ravi Singh.

According to the FIR, Dwarka Das Seth International availed various credit facilities from Oriental Bank of Commerce between 2007 and 2012 which went up to Rs 389 crore during the period.

The bank found out that the company was using LC to pay off other creditors against the purchase of gold and other precious stones, and transfer gold and funds outside the country using fictitious transactions. The FIR also alleged that the company was engaging in business transaction with non-existent entities.

Sabhya Seth, the company’s owner, fled the country in 2015 and is believed to be living in Dubai since.

Hitesh Narendra Bhai Patel: Sterling Biotech case

In a 2017 bank loan fraud case of Rs 8,100 crore against Sterling Biotech and its promoters — Nitin Sandesara and Chetan Sandesara — an associate of the owners, Hitesh Narendra Bhai Patel, was accused of getting dummy directors for shell companies by the brothers to divert and launder loan funds.

Patel, a US citizen, was arrested in Tirana, Albania, last month after the Interpol issued a Red Corner Notice against him on ED’s request.

The Indian agencies are now trying to extradite Patel and are in touch with the Interpol and Albanian authorities to this end.

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  1. Maximum of them are Gujjus… It’s not as PM, even as CM he was doing Chowkidary for these crony business people only

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