Pandora Papers: arrested, facing a default of Rs 7,000 crore, Nilesh Parekh from Kolkata went off
A Kolkata-based businessman, who received the highest Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) notice of Rs 7,220 crore, opened offshore companies through Trident Trust Company, records in the Pandora papers studied by The Indian Express reveal.
Nilesh Parekh, promoter of one of the main voluntary defaults, Shree Ganesh Jewelery House (I) Ltd, became the sole director of Chicory Holdings Limited in BVI in December 2011 to hold assets primarily in the United Arab Emirates.
Chicory Holdings was established in October 2010 with Trinity Group Partners, based in the United Arab Emirates, as a director of the company. According to the BVI company formation document, Parekh owns 50,000 shares of $ 1.5 each and the purpose of the company is “to register a subsidiary, a branch, a representative office, a limited liability company, a free zone company ‘with bank accounts in the United Arab Emirates.
“The company will invest and hold assets in the United Arab Emirates or elsewhere in the world and hereby authorizes Mr. Nilesh Parekh to sign only to represent the company and to sign on behalf of the company on all documents related to the investment , holding and selling / transferring assets, ”stated a resolution approved by Chicory Holdings in 2011.
Indian express The team visited three addresses related to Nilesh Parekh in Kolkata but Parekh was not available at any.
When opening the offshore company, Parekh provided his home address in the Manikanchan building in Ballygunj, Kolkata. At this address, a person who identified himself as Parekh’s domestic helper said he had no knowledge of Nilesh Parekh’s whereabouts.
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Parekh, his brothers Kamlesh and Umesh, as well as the Indian company Shree Ganesh Jewelery, are accused of defrauding a consortium of 25 Indian banks of Rs 2,672 crore and of embezzling export earnings of more than Rs 7,000 crore .
Shree Ganesh was declared in voluntary default by the banks in 2015. The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) is investigating two separate cases against Parekh.
In July 2020, the agency issued a show cause notice to Parekh and Shree Ganesh under FEMA “for engaging in unauthorized foreign exchange transactions, holding foreign currency outside India and willfully embezzling 7,220 crores rupees as an export product ”.
The ED is also investigating the company under the Money Laundering Prevention Act (PMLA) for allegedly diverting the proceeds from the sale of gold exports to related companies in the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Sources said the company had huge amounts outstanding from three UAE companies, Al Marhaba Trading FZC; Sparkle Jewelery LLC; and Astha Jewelery LLC. All of these businesses are promoted by Parekh and his brothers. The ED alleged that Parekh had deployed funds embezzled from India into real estate and movable property abroad.
The CBI is also investigating the Parekh brothers for allegedly defrauding 20 public sector banks, including the State Bank of India. Sources said the Parekh family left India before Shree Ganesh was declared voluntary in 2015.
The Parekh brothers now run an exclusive large-scale diamond lounge in Dubai named Aastha Lounge which opened in 2018.
In May 2017, Nilesh Parekh was arrested by CBI at Mumbai Airport while returning to the country from Dubai. Subsequently, in June 2018, Parekh was arrested by the Directorate of Fiscal Intelligence (DRI) for diverting duty-free imported gold over 1,700 kg.
The DRI alleged that between 2005 and 2015, Parekh imported 35,746 kg of gold duty-free through its company in the Manikanchan Special Economic Zone in Kolkata, but only exported 34,041 kg of finished jewelry. As a result, 1,705 kg of gold imported duty-free was not counted.
Parekh is currently on bail.
Last year, the government asked the Supreme Court to overturn its interim measures awarded to 44 people accused of various high-value economic crimes, arguing that it affected the ability of investigative bodies to investigate these cases. This list includes Nilesh Parekh.
With Partha Paul, Calcutta