इस लेख को हिंदी में पढ़ें – नीरव मोदी और राष्ट्रीय खजाने की तस्करी
This below research was brought to the notice of the Prime Minister’s Office urging to open an inquiry into the matter. On 18th of April this year the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence itself on behalf of the Prime Minister’s Office told us that they “do not have any specific evidence” regarding the smuggling of Indian temple idols, manuscripts, antiques & national heritage and hence they closed the case that we urged them to open. Ironically, the same British auction houses of Sotheby’s and Christie’s detailed in this report are also involved in the smuggling and auction of the treasures of Tirumala Tirupati temples – the issue now raised by the head priest of Tirumala on the basis of this report. More details here – Robbing God: The Smuggling Syndicate of Tirumala Tirupati Temples.
“I would like to bring to your notice a major financial scam similar to that of Mr. Vijay Mallya of Kingfisher Group from Bangalore, Subrata Roy of Sahara Group, Calcutta or Ramalingaraju of Satyam Group, Hyderabad… Kindly look into this and do needful before it is too late and he will escape from the country like Mr. Vijay Mallya” wrote the Bengaluru-based businessman Hari Prasad who filed a criminal complaint with Bengaluru Police in 2015 against Mehul Choksi and his group companies after being cheated for Rs 10 crore by Gitanjali Gems, following which he wrote to several authorities such as Enforcement Directorate (ED), Central Bureau of Investigation (
CBI), Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Ministry of Corporate Affairs and eventually the PMO itself next year in July 2016.
#NiravModi‘s #PNBFraud is just a cherry on tip of an iceberg, a systemic plunder of national & natural resources that is being going on since centuries with involvement of world famous auction houses that played a major role in setting up his career.https://t.co/xdR3CyChCD
— GreatGameIndia (@GreatGameIndia) March 5, 2018
Inspite of all these prior warnings, Nirav Modi did leave India with his brother Nishal, a Belgian citizen on 1st January 2018 and his wife Ami, a U.S. citizen, and business partner Mehul Choksi, the Indian promoter of Gitanjali jewellery chain, on Jan. 6 long before CBI received a complaint from Punjab National Bank on Jan. 29 about a Rs 280-crore fraud, that is now suspected to have an exposure of almost Rs 20,000 crore for Indian banks.
According to PNB’s note, their “junior level branch official” sent instructions to the foreign branches of the other banks that Punjab National Bank had issued LoUs on behalf of these companies. These instructions were sent through the global financial messaging service SWIFT which were not logged into PNB’s core banking software Infosys’s Finacle.
Although the finer details of the fraud are still being investigated by various agencies, it is a common knowledge among Gujarati people from Surat and Mumbai who are well aware of the modus operandi having been cheated by certain established diamond dealers often. Usually how it works is like this – projecting the image of the established diamond merchant a loan is procured for a new enterprise from the bank (usually by bribing the bank official) and from local businessmen or interested parties. This loan usually is taken not in the name of the merchant or his business but one of the relatives.
When banks come calling or lenders start protesting the relative files for bankruptcy and the family severs connection with him. For small-time fraudsters it just makes it upto the local newspapers but for the real biggies when things start heating up the accused or in many cases the entire family simply leaves India to join their family living in Belgium. Did not the same thing happen in the Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi case who are related to the Ambanis and the Winsome Diamonds and Rotomac frauds both of whose owners Jatin Mehta and Vikram Kothari are related to the Adanis?
This public money acquired by fraud is than laundered through shell companies or through innovative schemes like the auction of Indian Premier League cricket teams – which has become just another money laundering vehicle – as has been demonstrated by various cases like the Lalit Modi case or that of former left-arm spinner Bishan Singh Bedi and many others. This nexus of diamond dealers and the clout they possess was exposed during the 2010 IPL Kochi controversy, one of whose victim was Sunanda Pushkar. Team Kochi was funded mostly by Gujarati diamond dealers based in Mumbai, Dubai and Belgium but the franchise was owned by Shailendra Gaikwad, CEO of Rendezvous Sports World and younger brother Ravi Gaikwad than Deputy Regional Transport Officer in Maharashtra.
Since the day the Gaikwads bagged the multi-crore franchise for the IPL Kochi team, they were under constant pressure to give up rights over their franchise. But the Gaikwads didn’t crumble. Things got murkier when Rendezvous Sports World (RSW) started speaking through its spokesman Satyajit Gaikwad alleging that Lalit Modi was gunning for Kochi (even offering $50 million bribe) to make them exit IPL and hand over the slot to then Gujarat Chief Minister.
As per than IPL commissioner, Lalit Modi it was Shashi Tharoor who helped organize a consortium that made a successful $333.33 million bid for the Kochi franchise and also disclosed that one person in the investment group was Sunanda Pushkar who had been given equity stakes worth more than $15 million without any investment. The same day Sunanda Pushkar gave up her stake in the Kochi franchise Shashi Tharoor submitted his resignation to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Finally, Satyajit was eased out — and replaced by Rosy Blue Diamond’s K Tahilramani, with Harshad Mehta becoming chairman of the franchise in place of Shailendra Gaikwad. When Sunanda started hinting in the media about this nexus of diamond dealers it eventually claimed her life.
These money laundering activities are not limited to just IPL buti it also include producing bollywood movies, smuggling national resources and even rigging elections. For such diamond smuggling and money laundering activities Indian diamond traders are time and again arrested by Chinese authorities and even sent to prison in 2013. The story of how they got out is an amazing read that we encourage our readers to check out, as well as their other adventurous exploits.
Nirav Modi’s meteoric rise to the diamond boy however has a very peculiar golden story that begins with the auction houses of Christie’s and Sotheby’s. His claim to fame came when he became the first Indian to feature on the cover of a Christie’s auction catalogue in 2010 for a Golconda diamond necklace that fetched Rs 16.29 crore at its auction in Hong Kong. Than in October 2012, another of his Riviere Diamond Necklace was sold for Rs 33.14 crore at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong after which in 2013 he made it to the Forbes list of billionaires – both items sold to buyers who do not wish to reveal their identity. This international diamond boy persona was enough to set him up to acquire thousands of crores of loans from Indian Banks, ofcourse with the age old heera-ghasu magic trick.
This golden story however was punctured from the very beginning by cases of inflated invoices, diamond smuggling, market manipulations, bribery, money laundering and round-tripping by Indian investigating agencies. In 2013, after the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) found through an investigation that Gitanjali Gems Ltd was involved in market manipulation banned Choksi and 24 other entities after which the company underwent corporate debt restructuring in 2015 failing to service loans of Rs 5,000 crore. Investigation by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence has shown that their account books were hugely inflated to secure these loans on the basis of dressed-up numbers. Following the investigation DRI slapped his companies mainly Star Diamond International Pvt Ltd, Radashir Jewellery Company Pvt Ltd, and Firestar International Pvt Ltd, for Rs 37.16 cr as duty, Rs 5.84 cr interest at 15% and Rs.5.57cr as penalty and interest – in all Rs 48.22 cr.
What most people fail to grasp is that this is not just one fraud, its a web of multiple scams – it’s a way of life. To better illustrate this point we mention here briefly about one of their adventures. In 2012, Tendai Biti, then Finance Minister of Zimbabwe disclosed that $300 million collected by their mineral development agencies had not been handed over to the state. Meanwhile, a stockpile of 2.5 million carats of diamonds, conservatively valued at $200 million, simply went missing. Further study concluded that most illicit revenue was raised through a “sophisticated price manipulation scheme” whereby diamonds were sold for knock-down prices within the legal monitoring system in Harare, then resold in trade centres like Dubai and India for twice the original price. In all, some $2 billion has been lost to the state since 2008. This amazing feat was achieved by the Indian diamond traders in collaboration with their Zimbabwean allies, the proceeds of which were channelled into the ‘parallel government’ loyal to famous dictator Robert Mugabe.
Such natural, national resource, in this case, Blood Diamonds from Zimbabwe mined by an army of brainwashed child slaves and procured through various imaginative ways by the diamond traders usually end up at world famous auction houses. Two such auction houses are Christie’s and Sotheby’s where the rare diamonds cut by Nirav Modi were auctioned, that propelled his career to worldwide acclaim. What is not known to most Indians because media never care to report it (even now) is that these auction houses were setup by the East India Company officers to sell looted heritage from British colonies to the European elites.
James Christie conducted his first auction on December 5th 1766, in the rooms of Pall Mall, London, where goods from India, China, Japan and Turkey were auctioned off. These items for auction in Christie’s also included relics, rare diamonds, stolen antiques and temple idols, manuscripts and other such artifacts. However, these are not the only things that Christie dealt with. He made a fortune selling English women on the streets of India. A fact immortalised by the famous British political caricaturist James Gillray in his hand-coloured etching “A sale of English-beauties, in the East Indies”.
The print above shows a ship-load of English courtesans being sold on the streets of Calcutta by a thin and foppish auctioneer (a reference to the likes of James Christie). The women on sale are being inspected by Orientals. The central figure is a woman with her right hand held by an inspecting Indian and her left by the Englishman selling her, over whose head a little black boy holds a tall umbrella. Papers projecting from the Englishman’s pocket are inscribed ‘Instructions for the Governor General’. On the right a woman is being weighed in a scale opposite a barrel inscribed ‘Lack of Rupees’ which she slightly outweighs. On the far right next to the door of a warehouse are a number of weeping women. Over the door is inscribed, ‘Warehouse for unsaleable Goods from Europe NB: To be return’d by the next Ship’. We leave it to our keen readers to observe other amusing details in the print.
James Christie made a fortune selling the plunder of Bengal that laid the foundation of today’s world famous auction house of Christie’s. After Robert Clive took over Plassey, Mir Jafar was installed as a “puppet Nawab”, and the kingdom’s treasury was dutifully emptied by East India Company officers. In a series of campaigns, Clive also amassed large warehouses worth of treasures, from carpets to jewels, now known as the Plassey Plunder. This depleted the state exchequer to the extent that the economy of Bengal was completely shattered. The colonised territories were than used as experiments to understand the impacts of free market economics which resulted in the Great Bengal famine of 1770 where an estimated third of the population in the affected region of Bengal starved to death.
Did you know few of these items looted by Robert Clive from India were very recently in 2004 auctioned at Christie’s in London? When the grandchildren of Clive were short of money they sold few items from the loot in an auction at Christie’s that fetched them £4 million. Still they have warehouses full of the same Indian treasure now claimed by the Clives; and the way Brexit has plunged Britain into chaos they may need to sell it soon again for pocket-money.
Here are few of Robert Clive’s stolen treasures from India auctioned at Christie’s by his descendants :
- A fly whisk of bent agate studded with rubies – £901,000
- A unique dagger adorned with jewelled floral sprays – £733,000
- A hookah with blue enamel and sapphires – £94,000
- A pale green nephrite jade bowl- £53,000
- A jade flask intricately decorated in bands of emeralds and studded with ruby flowers, all set in gold.
These items were bought by then Sheikh Saud bin Mohammed Al-Thani, then minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage, Qatar. Reportedly the sale set him on a collision course with the British authorities and according to dealers, “There are a lot of people in positions of power who don’t like what he is trying to do.” It is said the minister was kept under house-arrest at one of his homes in London and died there mysteriously, as a result the items in question are still up for auction.
This is a story of just one such East India Company officer, a mere clerk at that, as historians like to put it “an unstable sociopath”. What about the other high-ranking officers? Do the Indian government know the amount of the treasure that was taken out by colonists? If not, did any Indian government after independence commissioned a study to compile a catalogue of the looted items? Why has this not been done yet?
It is not just the colonial era loot that is being auctioned off at Christie’s and Sotheby’s. They are actively engaged in smuggling Indian antiques and artifacts even today. Some years back investigations had exposed a high-profile network between Sotheby’s and Indian antique smuggler Vaman Ghiya. Ghiya was part of a global racket involving art dealers and auction houses. During a search by the Rajasthan Police in 2003, sixty-eight catalogues of Sotheby’s and Christie’s were recovered. A witness admitted to investigators that he had packed thousands of antique sculptures for export abroad, of which some were shown in the Catalogs.
In 2001, the US Department of Justice in Manhattan indicted the former chairmen of Sotheby’s Holdings Inc. and Christie’s International plc — the two largest auction houses in the world controlling more than 90 percent of the world’s live auctions — in an international price-fixing conspiracy. In 2012, the FBI brought down Subhash Kapoor, a well-known art dealer from Manhattan, who is awaiting trial in India. Kapoor is accused of smuggling and selling hundreds of stolen artefacts from India. Many of these artefacts passed through Hong Kong, including a rare 900-year-old Shiva sculpture bought by the National Gallery of Australia, which was later returned to India in 2016.
We are yet to see any such conclusive efforts by the Indian government against these auction houses regarding the rampant wholesale smuggling of our entire civilization going on since centuries and now in front of our own eyes – which has now become more than a $5 billion black market. Maybe the Indian government should learn from the Chinese who have refused this death by a thousand cuts.
Once Robert Clive took over Bengal, the British forced Indian farmers to cultivate only Opium in their fields and any other crops grown by them were confiscated. This Opium grown on Indian soil was than ferried to China in collaboration with certain Indian businessmen who made their empires peddling drugs for the East India Company – many of whom are respected household names today. Starting from Chinese ports the drug addiction was spread right upto the Emperor’s military officers – successfully drugging generations of Chinese youth within a century. When in 1839 the Daoguang Emperor fought back against this destruction of Chinese culture, the East India Companies launched a full-scale war on China backed by the British Royal Navy and Indian soldiers recruited in the British Indian Army. This is the root of the India-China conflict which has been explained in-depth in our research report, the History Of Narco-Terrorism In India.
These series of wars are known as the Opium Wars and as a result Hong Kong was taken away by the British, where they setup various organisational structures for the smooth division and dispersion of the plundered Chinese wealth. Hong Kong branch of the London headquartered auction houses of Christie’s and Sotheby’s are part of these elaborate enterprise. Unlike Indians, the Chinese remember their history and are acutely aware of the context in which things are happening today, which reflect in their national policies.
In October 1860, during the Second Opium War, French and British troops sacked the Summer Palace – a vast ensemble of lakes, gardens and palaces in Beijing – home of the Chinese Royal Family. The destruction of the palace was ordered by Lord Elgin, the British High Commissioner to China, which is one of the most humiliating moments of China’s long period of colonial subjugation and still evokes strong emotions among the Chinese. During the attack 12 pieces of bronze heads representing the Chinese zodiac sitting atop sculptures of human bodies to form a water clock were pried from their plinths and taken away. And recently in 2007 one of the horse heads was put on an auction in Sotheby’s Hong Kong.
The Chinese have been since decades grappling to come to terms with this daylight robbery. In response to the auction, Chiu Che Bing, a Paris-based architect and advisor on the restoration of the palace gardens said, “Bringing back all the things from the Summer Palace, it’s a kind of revenge, a way to avenge the humiliation.” A Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho purchased this bronze horse head for $8.84 million and donated it to China. Ho also bought the pig in 2003 from a New York collector and donated it to China. It is now in the Poly Group museum. The China Poly Group, is run by an arms dealer linked to the People’s Liberation Army, that also purchased the ox, tiger and monkey in 2000 and now has them on display in its Beijing museum.
Than in 2009, two sculptures, of a rabbit and a rat, originally part of the same set of 12 bronze fountainheads were put on auction by Christie’s in Paris. After passing through a succession of owners, they ended up in the collection of Yves Saint Laurent, the late fashion designer. Despite stiff Chinese opposition, and a lengthy legal case, the heads were auctioned for £14 million each. The sale triggered fierce nationalism in China, with even Kung Fu expert Jackie Chan criticizing the auction saying, “This behaviour is shameful. They remain looted items, no matter whom they were sold to. Whoever took it out (of China) is himself a thief. It was looting yesterday. It is still looting today.”
In this piece @anuraag_saxena explores how cultural artifacts smuggled from India funds terror activities of ISIS. Interestingly this global ring of antique smugglers is also behind #NiravModi‘s rise as reported by @GreatGameIndia earlier.https://t.co/4CT09g8VOq
— GreatGameIndia (@GreatGameIndia) April 7, 2018
Than on 25 Feb 2009 the disputed 18th-century fountainheads — heads of a Rat and a Rabbit — were bought off by a Mr. Cai Mingchao for 28 million euros from Yves Saint Laurent. Cai is an adviser to China’s National Treasures Fund, which seeks to retrieve looted treasures by foreign invaders during the Qing dynasty. He then refused to pay the sum bid, claiming that he was bidding on moral and patriotic grounds. The Chinese have since vowed revenge on the auction houses of Christie’s and Sotheby’s.
China has created a strong intelligence sharing and joint investigation cooperation network with other countries to fight rampant cross-border trafficking of cultural relics. Law enforcement agencies from China and other nations－including European and some Southeast Asian countries and the United States－are targeting major and individual cases and working to smash major transnational cultural heritage trafficking rings.
As a direct result of these policies, Christie’s was recently exposed as a front for American Central Intelligence Agency. Jerry Chun Shing Lee, a Chinese spy penetrated the CIA who was than deputed at Christie’s Hong Kong as director of security for Asia. Through classified top secret information extracted by this spy, the Chinese intelligence systematically dismantled entier CIA spying operations in China – “one of the American government’s worst intelligence failures in recent years.”
In 2017, for the first time, China Guardian (a Chinese auction house) held its local auctions at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, dominating the market pushing Christie’s and Sotheby’s slowly out of the scene. Incidentally, the owner of China Guardian, Wan Chai is now also the biggest shareholder in Sotheby’s.
To bring the point home to sleeping Indians and as an open signal for collaboration, an intriguing movie was produced by Jackie Chan himself, the plot involving a mystery to locate India’s lost Magadha treasure in Tibet by renowned Chinese professor of archaeology and an Indian professor from National Museum Institute. The plot interestingly also involving a 212 carat stolen diamond artifact known as the “Eye of Shiva” popping up in Dubai for auctions at the black market.
This story is strikingly similar to the story of how Nirav Modi procured the diamonds that brought him worldwide acclaim. While much is going on in the international arena to bring back national treasures, this information is cleverly blocked from reaching Indian audience. Same Indian media that is today hounding Nirav Modi, used to write puff-piece success stories failing to ask the fundamental question of the source of his diamonds. As per Nirav Modi in an interview given to The Jewellery Editor, a diamond dealer approached him in 2009 with a 12.29 carat Golconda diamond – an old Indian diamond – which was first sold in the 1960s.
The Golconda Diamonds are diamonds that were mined in South India – present day Telengana and Andhra Pradesh. Out of 38 diamond mines of India, 23 were located in the Golconda Sultanate, making it the ‘Diamond Capital’ of the world. It was considered a point of pride by any ruler to be the owner of one of the Golconda Diamonds. The top four pink diamonds of the world are from Golconda including the Kohinoor. These Golconda diamonds are being dutifully sold by Christie’s and Sotheby’s even today. In 2010 a Golconda diamond known as the Graff pink was sold in Geneva by Sotheby’s for $44m and in 2013 another 34.65 carat Prince Diamond was sold at auction for more than $39.3m by Christie’s in New York. How many of such diamonds are still in Christie’s, Sotheby’s, foreign government or private collectors possession? How did these diamonds reach there? What about the Golconda diamonds sold to Nirav Modi? How did those diamonds ended up in this unknown dealers possession from the Golconda mines which were sold off to Nirav Modi? Is it again a co-incidence that the same Golconda diamonds were again auctioned off at none other than Christie’s and Sotheby’s to an unknown buyer? Why is there no media coverage in this aspect?
The story of Thomas Pitt, an East India Company officer born to a priest of the Church of England would be a good point to start an investigation in this aspect. Pitt, who went on to become the President of Madras spawned an illicit diamond trade and made a fortune smuggling diamonds from the Golconda mines. A well known story is about a 140.5 carat uncut diamond that Pitt smuggled out to London in the heel of a shoe worn by his son Robert. The diamond was sold to the Regent of France for a sum of 135,000 pounds, and now known as “Le Regent” or the “Regent’s Diamond.” Napoleon Bonaparte himself wore this diamond and had it embedded onto the pommel of his sword.
The secondary stones made from the leftovers of this stolen Golconda “Pitt” Diamond were sold to Peter the Great, joining the Russian crown jewels. By the eighteenth century, diamonds from Golconda had adorned the crown jewels of Russia, Iran, Britain, France, Austria and Bavaria! In its lifetime, Napoleon once even tried to pledge it to fund his wars. The Regent’s Diamond is now on display in the Louvre, Paris – estimated to be worth £48 million. These are not ordinary diamonds and are needed as they were needed during Second World War for manufacturing of jet engines, high temperature and high velocity warheads, etc or in oil drilling industry. Can the Indian government bring back these looted national treasure like how the Chinese and other countries are doing? Is our nationalist Indian leadership at all bothered about preserving the heritage of India even now, let alone retrieving the artifacts already gone?
Under the River-Linking Project, the Indian government is constructing a huge dam across the Godavari River, which has been accorded national project status. There are numerous archeological sites and ancient temples in these region that would be submerged as a result. A 10,000-year old megalithic burial site with around 100 graves was discovered in 2016 in East Godavari district that have evidence of the birth of early Andhra cultures. There are concerns that it will be history again even before archaeologists can study them in detail thanks to the massive Polavaram dam coming up across the Godavari. Apart from this, researchers estimate that around 400,000 people from almost 250 villages would be displaced because of the dam.
Don’t the Indian government know why other nations are now decommissioning each and every dam in their countries? If not, surely their business partners and money lenders executing such huge River-Linking project tying Indian rivers in chains with thousands of dams must have told them? Can Indian policymakers enlighten us why 900 dams were removed in US alone till 2015 with 60 more to go every year? If not, we would kindly advise these policymakers to read our report on Agricultural Terrorism and get educated before they get our entire Indian civilization at risk.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 25, 2017
The Comptroller and Audit General in its 2013 report said, “We found that the ASI had never participated or collected information on Indian antiquities put on sale at Sotheby’s and Christie’s as there was no explicit provision in the AAT Act, 1972 for doing so.” The ASI agrees, “It’s only when someone points out that a particular artwork was stolen that we can ask our embassies to stop these auctions.” Can and will the Indian authorities stop these auctions, now that it has been brought to their attention?
The Indian government has proposed an amendment to this 1972 Act with the draft Antiquities and Art Treasures Regulation, Export and Import Bill, 2017. However, experts are concerned that instead of curbing it the new bill would facilitate idol theft & smuggling. A former ASI official admitted that it may lead to huge problems of stolen artefacts being marketed in antique shops. Meanwhile, the sale of India’s cultural heritage goes on unabated with new cases popping up every other day. It’s a long way to go for the Indian administration to realise the real extent of the loot of these cultural treasures and the risk of money-laundering and terror financing that goes with it.
These smuggling channels whether antiques, diamonds, oil, drugs or otherwise are also utilised in terror financing and even covert operations. We have demonstrated in our numerous reports how these diamond, drugs, diesel, betting channels and routes were utilised in various terror incidents in India – the latest being the Pathankot attack where the age old opium smuggling routes from Afghanistan to India via Pakistan were utilised and the payment of which was done through diamonds to the superintendent of the Punjab Police, Salwinder Singh, as confessed by him to the National Investigation Agency. Why was he given a clean-chit and a compulsory premature retirement availing all pensionary benefits? Almost 6 months before Mumbai Attacks of 2008, the Financial Intelligence Unit of India was already tracking the diamond industry for suspicious activities by terrorists and traced it to the foreign transactions emanating from Belgium into the Surat diamond industry. Why these leads were not presented before the court in the hearings or even followed-up by investigating agencies? Why wasn’t the lead connecting David Headley to this Belgium based diamond dealers via Surat gem industry probed?
For the Punjab National Bank fraud itself these same age old routes and channels were utilised. Just months before Nirav Modi fled India he floated a subsidiary of his flagship company Nirav Modi Limited in Belgium and siphoned off a major chunk of the ill-gotten money into two Belgium-based companies — Nirav Modi Limited (formed on 11 October, 2017) and Nirav Modi Jewels BVBA (floated in Antwerp, Belgium, in 2013). It is because of such dubious activities that these Belgium based diamond dealers are found on each and every Black Money laundering list in the world. Rest assured that the Indian government already knows about it. Many persons on the list are Gujarati diamond merchants with offices all over the world having roots in Palanpur. Isn’t it true that in May 2014 eight of these diamond dealers were given a clean-chit by the Income Tax department in the black money laundering case?
Top on the list is Antwerp-based Indian-origin diamantaire Dilip Mehta, CEO of Rosy Blue, one of the world’s largest diamond company, also known as the Diamond King. The Belgium government has chosen him to award its highest civilian honour, the prestigious title of ‘Baron’. The selection was made by the Belgian foreign ministry and the Belgian Royal Palace itself.
A Headlines Today investigation revealed that the Mehta brothers (Dilip, Arun and Harshad Ramnik Lal Mehta), who also owned 12 per cent stake in Kochi IPL (incident mentioned above), have secret accounts in LGT Bank of Leichenstein. They allegedly siphoned funds through fronts which have money trails linked to tax havens in Luxembourg and Guernsey. Diamond firm Rosy Blue, in which the Mehtas hold shares, was used to park funds abroad. Shell companies controlled by secretive trusts in Guernsey were also used to siphon off funds. Pine Trust and Beech Settlement used Deutsche Bank as trustees to illegally park money.
There are numerous such cases and investigations against these Belgium-based diamond dealers, but we are yet to see any concrete action against them from our government. Is it because these diamond dealers have close business and family relations with Ambanis and Adanis who are the major donors to the political parties that come to power? We know now that Mukesh Ambani’s niece Isheta Salgaocar is married to Nirav Modi’s brother Neeshal Modi and his first cousin Vipul Ambani is CFO of one of Modi’s company. But did you know that Mukesh Ambani’s eldest son Akash may soon be married to Shloka, the daughter of Russell Mehta and Mona, head of Dilip Mehta’s Rosy Blue Diamonds in India and a close relative of Nirav Modi?
This report on smuggling of our heritage has been communicated with the @PMOIndia Office & we hope swift actions would be taken against it. @GreatGameIndia would be happy to assist our agencies if needed if a concrete action is to be planned in this regard. #WorldHeritageDay pic.twitter.com/3hJjCSPAdd
— GreatGameIndia (@GreatGameIndia) April 18, 2018
In order to prevent these kind of frauds, the age old established smuggling routes and money-laundering channels will have to be disrupted and until that is done we will see such incidents happening over and over again. Because of the way Indian investigating and even intelligence agencies are oriented, these cases are bound to happen again and we will only be taking actions (if at all any) after a major fraud has been committed. GreatGameIndia would be happy to assist our agencies if a concrete action is to be planned in this regard.