Crime & Justice

India recovers $1.7 billion by selling assets of fugitive billionaires

New Delhi, Dec 20 (EFE).- Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman claimed on Monday that the country’s banks had recovered over $1.7 billion from corrupt billionaires Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, who have fled the country after being accused of fraud.

“A total of 13.109 billion rupees (around $1.7 billion) has been recovered from the asset sales of Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi as of July 2021,” Sitharaman told the parliament.

The three businessmen are infamous in the country for being involved in complicated court cases of fraud and corruption.

Vijay Mallya, head of United Breweries Group – which produces the popular Kingfisher beer among other products – has been on the run and living in England since 2016 after being accused of fraud for not repaying large debts to public banks.

He also owned the now bankrupt and defunct Kingfisher Airlines, which stopped operations in 2013.

Diamond merchant Nirav Modi has been accused of defrauding Punjab National Bank – India second largest bank – of $1.77 billion along with his uncle, Mehul Choksi.

Both Modi and Choksi fled India in 2018 when their cases grabbed the limelight and investigative agencies issued arrest warrants against them.

In October 2020, Netflix screened a controversial documentary series on the stories of these three businessmen along with two other billionaires mired in fraud cases: Ramalinga Raju and Subrata Roy.

The release of the series, titled “Bad Boy Billionaires,” had to be temporarily suspended after Roy and Raju challenged it in courts, alleging defamation and illegal violation of privacy in their separate lawsuits.

The cases of the billionaires who have defrauded public sector banks and successfully evaded arrest to flee abroad have attracted widespread media attention and political scrutiny in India, with Indian agencies launching extradition efforts against many of them. EFE


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