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Sunday, January 19, 2020

The Bahamas Leaks: From real estate to fashion to razor blades

Some of the Indians listed in the Bahamas corporate registry records, and how they responded when The Indian Express tried to contact them.

By: Express News Service | Updated: September 22, 2016 2:38:15 am
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Prasad Nimmagadda & Prakash Nimmagadda

Overseas entities: Prasad Nimmagadda in Crystal Lake Properties LLC (June 7, 2007, to December 27, 2007) Best Skyline Inc (April 1, 2009), Rougemont Holdings Limited (December 27, 2007, to January 3, 2011); Prakash Nimmagadda in Silver Cliff Properties Inc (Director since June 7, 2007) Best Skyline Inc (June 7, 2007, to December 27, 2007), Crystal Lake Properties LLC (December 27, 2007, to January 3, 2011), Best Horizon Inc (June 7, 2007 to December 27, 2007), Coventina Estate Inc (June 7, 2007 to December 27, 2007), Top Skyline Inc (June 7, 2007, to July 26, 2010), Superscape Inc (June 7, 2007 to Dec 27, 2007), Rougemont Holdings Limited (June 7, 2007 to December 27, 2007)

Nimmagadda Prasad, 54, widely known as ‘Matrix’ Prasad, was initially into the real estate business. He shot to prominence when he took over the ailing pharmaceutical company Herren Drugs in 2000, renamed it Matrix Pharmaceuticals and made a huge profit in 2006 he sold his stake to Mylan Laboratories, US. In 2012, he was named in a CBI case relating to illegal assets allegedly amassed by Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, chief of YSR Congress Party. Prasad, now out on bail, has been maintaining a low profile since. Prasad is named as an accused in the CBI’s fourth chargesheet for investing in Jagan’s companies in lieu of favours granted by Jagan’s late father Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, then chief minister. Prasad is alleged to have invested Rs 854.50 crore in Jagan’s companies. For this, he was allegedly allotted 15,000 acres land in Guntur and Prakasam districts for the Vadaru and Nizampatnam Port and Industrial Corridor, a project known as Vanpic Port and promoted by Prasad’s companies.

Read | After Panama Papers, Bahamas: More Indians in secret tax haven list

In January 2008, Prasad floated Matrix Enport Holdings Pvt Ltd which entered into an agreement with RAK Investment Authority to implement the Vanpic project. RAK Investment Authority has been floated by Government of Ras al-Khaimah, one of the emirates in the UAE, which initially partnered the Government of Andhra Pradesh to develop Vadaru and Nizampatnam ports and th industrial corridor. The MoU for Vanpic involved two small ports on 4,000 acres each on a build, own, operate and transfer basis, but the project never took off.

bahamas leaks, indians bahamas leaks, bahamas leaks indians, bahama leaks news, indians in bahamas leaks, bahamas leaks list of indians, india news, world news At the address listed in the registry records.

Prasad invested heavily in healthcare and hospitals in Hyderabad and entered the media business by investing in MAA TV, a Telugu channel, but sold his stake in 2015 to STAR TV for a huge profit. In May 2012, he was arrested by the CBI in the illegal assets case. He was released on bail 17 months later. The Enforcement Directorate has attached most of his assets. Prasad heads the Nimmagadda Foundation, his philanthropic initiative.

Prakash Nimmagadda is Prasad’s younger brother. At least 28 firms floated by the brothers have a single address: Sairam Towers, Alexander Road, Secunderabad. Prasad’s office is on the first floor of Sairam Towers where his entity iQuest Enterprises Pvt Ltd (formerly MAA Television Network) is located.

As per records, Prakash Nimmagadda quit most of the Bahamas companies, except Top Skyline Inc and Silver Cliff Properties, on December 27, 2007. He continued with Top Skyline Inc till July 26, 2010. There is no record of his resigning from Silver Cliff Properties.

bahamas leaks, indians bahamas leaks, bahamas leaks indians, bahama leaks news, indians in bahamas leaks, bahamas leaks list of indians, india news, world news A sign announces the office has moved to Alexander Road in Secunderabad.

Prasad Nimmagadda joined Crystal Lake Properties LLC, Rougemont Holdings Ltd and Best Horizon Inc as a director on December 27, 2007, the day Prakash Nimmagadda resigned. Prasad joined Best Skyline Inc on April 1, 2009. He resigned from Crystal Lake and Rougemont Holdings on January 3, 2011.

RESPONSE: Asked about Crystal Lake Properties, Prasad Nimmagadda said, “I would not like to discuss this issue over phone. We can meet personally and talk about it. I will tell you everything.” His office called and fixed an appointment but later cancelled it saying Prasad was busy. Two subsequent appointments too were cancelled.

Prakash Nimmagadda did not respond to calls.

— Sreenivas Janyala, Hyderabad

Rajan Madhu

Overseas entities: Transatlantic Technologies Limited and ECB Enterprises Limited

Bahamas registry records show that Rajan Madhu was appointed director in Transatlantic Technologies Limited on January 14, 1998. On January 19, he was appointed president of Transatlantic and director of another Bahamas company, ECB Enterprises Limited. The same day, Pollux Corporate Services Limited, a British Virgin Islands (BVI) company, was appointed assistant secretary in both companies.

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Madhu’s Delhi address is also on record. He continued as director in both companies until at least October 30, 2008 when, records show, Pollux Corporate Services Limited changed jurisdiction from BVI to the Bahamas.

Mossack Fonseca (Bahamas) documents record Banque SCS Alliance (Nassau) Ltd as the client and one Pauline H A Creary as the “contact person” who facilitated registration of the two companies with Madhu as director in January 1998. The Foreign Exchange Regulation Act was replaced by FEMA only in 1999.

Rajan Madhu currently holds the master licensing rights for Fashion TV and the brand “F” for India. Promoter and president of Fashion TV India, he is a director in 15 active companies dealing in hospitality, retail trade, manufacturing, healthcare etc.

Madhu is a brother-in-law of pharma tycoon Gautam Thadani and the two became directors of Engro Construction Co Pvt Ltd in 1997. And months after Madhu was appointed director in the two Bahamas companies, he and Thadani became founder directors of Aqua Pure (India) Pvt Ltd in April 1998. They serve together in the boards of three other Delhi companies.

In the Tatra trucks bribery case, residences of both Thadani and Madhu were raided for their alleged links to Ravi Rishi, the owner of the Vectra Group, by the CBI in 2012.

RESPONSE: Rajan Madhu did not respond to emails.

— Jay mazoomdaar, New Delhi

Gurjit Dhillon & Harbhajan Kaur

Overseas entity: Springbreeze Limited

Bahamas registry records show that Century Industries Limited was registered on April 15, 1994. The company was struck off in January 2000 and restored in August that year. According to the records, Gurjit Dhillon and her septugenarian mother Harbhajan Kaur, both from Chandigarh, were appointed director and secretary respectively on January 17, 2011.

On Mossack Fonseca records, there are numerous email communications by Gurjit Dhillon on Springbreeze Limited in 2011. Their Chandigarh addresses are on the company records.

bahamas leaks, indians bahamas leaks, bahamas leaks indians, bahama leaks news, indians in bahamas leaks, bahamas leaks list of indians, india news, world news Harbhajan Kaur, appointed secretary, says she has never heard of the company

RESPONSE: The mother and daughter both denied any knowledge of the company.

“My husband (Gurjit Dhillon refused to reveal his name) was in the Navy and he died two years ago. I am not aware of any company by this name and how my name figures as the director. I run a boutique and do not know much about my husband’s work. I can look into some of his files and see if there are any papers for this company,” Gurjit Dhillon said.

Harbhajan Kaur said, “Neither my daughter Gurjit nor I am in a position to open or run a company. I am a housewife. My husband is no more. My son has a hosiery business in Paris. Maybe he has floated a company. But I do not know about it. We belong to Amritsar and moved to Mohali many years ago. One of my daughters is settled in Australia and another in London. I will get you to talk to my son once he is here.”

— Khushboo sandhu, Chandigarh

Aman Gupta & Ashish Gupta

Overseas entity: Chemess Corporation

Bahamas registry records show that Aman Gupta was appointed as a director of Chemess Corporation on July 21, 1995. He resigned on January 21, 2014, when Ashish Gupta took over as director. Aman Gupta’s London address and Ashish Gupta’s Dubai address are on record.

Aman Gupta is the chairman and chief executive of a Finnish brand of bottled water, Veen Waters, which started in 2007 and entered the Indian market in 2012.

RESPONSE: “The purpose of setting up this company was to carry out business outside India. As I am and have been an NRI for 20 years, no RBI permission was required to incorporate this company. No tax is payable in India nor is this required to be reported as I am an NRI. This company is not active anymore,” Aman Gupta said.

—Khushboo Narayan, Mumbai

Myra Delores Rego & Ashok Chawla

Overseas entity: Burlay Trading Limited

Bahamas registry records show that Burlay Trading Limited was incorporated on November 30, 1998. The company is active and paid its annual fees for 2015 on February 16, 2015.

Records show that Myra Delores Rego was appointed director and company secretary on April 30, 1999. She is listed with a Mumbai address. Records show that Ashok Chawla too was appointed a director, on May 18, 2001. He was listed with a Delhi address and resigned on August 1, 2003.

Since July 2000, according to the UK company registry, Myra Delores Rego has served as company secretary in Linkplus Solutions Limited — a company with a Kent address — owned by Kali Ltd and European Enterprises Ltd. Businessmen Hari Mohan Saraff (British) and Gour Saraff (American) are the directors of Linkplus Solutions.

While the UK registry records Rego at a Tonbridge-Kent address, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs in India records her (DIN 00395981) with the same Mumbai address as in the Bahamas records. She has been director with Saraff in three Indian companies — Trimaran India Pvt Ltd (Goa), Sealand Systems Pvt Ltd (Goa) and Paramhansa Technologies Ltd (New Delhi) — since 2005.

Ashok Chawla is a former Army officer who dealt in real estate. In 2008, some of his properties in Delhi and Haryana were attached to recover income tax and wealth tax dues in excess of Rs 14 crore.

RESPONSE: When contacted, Rego conceded she is aware of Burlay Trading. “It’s been dormant. They just used my name. There is nothing more to this,” she said.

Chawla said, “Burlay Trading Limited belongs to Hari Saraff who framed me and won a court case in UK. He also has another company, Kali Limited. I was never a director of any offshore company. Myra Rego is one of Saraff’s employees and she could be serving as a director. But not me. Nobody can produce a paper where I signed to become a director or as a director of the company.”

Hari Saraff did not respond to phone calls and emails.

— Smita Nair, Mumbai & P Vaidyanathan Iyer, New Delhi

Naresh Kumar Modi

Overseas entity: Lancashire Properties Holding Limited

Bahamas registry records list Naresh Kumar Modi as the sole director of Lancashire Properties Holding Limited. He was appointed on January 4, 2005. Dunwoody Group International Incorp, a Bahamas company, was appointed the company secretary the same day. Modi was director in Lancashire Properties Holding Limited till at least March 2011 when its agent Sterling (Bahamas) Ltd obtained a certificate of good standing from the Bahamas registry.

Modi’s Delhi address on record wrongly mentions Greater Kailash III while The Indian Express traced his residence to the same number in Greater Kailash II.

Offshore Leak data released earlier by ICIJ show that Modi is the beneficiary of three BVI entities — Treetops Trading Inc, Westend Holdings Trust (VISTA) and Mayflower Investments Worldwide Inc — incorporated in 2007. In these records, he has a Jakarta (Indonesia) address.

RESPONSE: Modi was out of station when The Indian Express visited his Delhi residence. Emails sent to him did not elicit any response.

— Jay Mazoomdaar, New Delhi

Anil Agarwal

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Overseas entities: Onclave PTC Limited

Anil Agarwal is the founder and chairman of Vedanta Resources PLC. He controls Vedanta Resources PLC through Volcan Investments, a holding vehicle with a 61.7% stake in the business.

Onclave PTC Ltd is the trustee of Anil Agarwal Discretionary Trust that controls Volcan Investments. It was incorporated on November 6, 2007. Anil Agarwal, with a Mumbai address, was appointed director on November 14, 2007. The other director in the company is Ellison Isaac Collie, appointed the same day, with a Bahamas address. Documents show the company was dissolved on December 4, 2013. The trust is a private one incorporated under the laws of the Bahamas with its registered office at Loyalist Plaza, Don Mackay Boulevard, Marsh Harbour, Abaco, Bahamas, according to disclosures made by Sterlite Industries with the US Securities Exchange Commission. Onclave PTC controls all voting and investment decisions of the trust. As a result, securities beneficially owned by Volcan may be regarded as being beneficially owned by the trust and in turn, by Onclave. The beneficiaries of the trust are members of the Agarwal family.

bahamas leaks, indians bahamas leaks, bahamas leaks indians, bahama leaks news, indians in bahamas leaks, bahamas leaks list of indians, india news, world news The Bahamas registry document showing his appointment as director in Onclave PTC Ltd in 2007.

RESPONSE: “Onclave PTC Limited is a trust company, acting as a trustee of Mr Agarwal’s family trust. This information is disclosed to the Income Tax Authorities. RBI Permission was not required (to set up the company). This Trust company is not active,” a company spokesperson said.

— Khushboo Narayan, Mumbai

Sanjeev Kapoor, Jitendra P Patra & Sadat Rafiq Multani

Overseas entities: Emerald Valley Holdings LLC and Dynasty Zarooni INC

Bahamas registry records show Sanjeev Kapoor has a 50% share — 25,000 at $1 each — in Emerald Valley Holdings LLC. The other 50% is held in equal shares by Serangoon Ltd and Seletar Ltd of Bahamas. The sole director of Emerald Valley Holdings is Kabir Mulchandani, a Dubai-based NRI who pioneered India’s colour TV movement in the 1990s. Emerald Valley holds a 50% share — 40 million at $1 each — in Dynasty Zarooni INC where Jitendra Prasad Patra and Sadat Rafiq Multani were appointed directors on January 11, 2012. The other 50% is held by Diamond Valley Holdings LLC. Kapoor and Patra have the same Delhi address in the records while Multani has a Thane address.

Formed in 2004, Mulchandani’s Dynasty Enterprises Inc became Dynasty Zarooni in September 2007 following a merger with Hilal al-Zarooni Group. Mulchandani and Hilal al-Zarooni became directors. The company’s net equity then was 1.35 billion UAE dirhams ($367.5 million), according to zawya.com, part of Thomson Reuters Middle East. In 2009, Mulchandani was accused of real estate fraud, subsequently arrested, then cleared of all charges in December 2010. The next year, he launched a new property venture, SKAI Holdings. He and Alzarooni quit as directors of Dynasty Zarooni on January 11, 2012; Patra and Multani were appointed.

RESPONSE: Mulchandani said, “These companies were formed in 2004 and I have been an NRI since 2001. Sanjeev Kapoor is holding the shares in a fiduciary capacity. He has never been a beneficiary of Emerald Valley Holdings which holds 50 per cent share in Dynasty Zarooni. The other 50 in Emerald Valley is held by me. And the balance 50 per cent in Dynasty Zarooni is held by an Emirate gentleman.”

Kapoor said, “I am a chartered accountant and hold the shares in a fiduciary capacity. I never made any investment in Emerald Valley Holdings. It is difficult to contact Mr Patra who works as a manager and is posted in Nagaland.”

Sadat Multani denied owning any company in Bahamas.

— Mohamed Thaver, Mumbai & P Vaidyanathan Iyer, New Delhi

Ganapati Rathinam, Shomik Prasanna Mukherjee, Prabir Harshad Talati & Nitin Vashdev Merani

Overseas entity: Wesley International Limited

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Bahamas registry records show Ganapati Rathinam and Shomik Prasanna Mukherjee were appointed directors in Wesley International Ltd on February 9, 2013. They were serving till at least September 24, 2015. Prabir Harshad Talati was appointed director on April 16, 2013. He resigned that July 11. Nitin Vashdev Merani was appointed director on December 4, 2013, and resigned on August 31, 2015.

Winterbotham Trust Company Limited (Bahamas) is on record as the registered agent of Wesley International Limited.

The Mumbai addresses of Rathinam, Talati and Merani are on record. Mukherjee’s Delhi address on record is his ancestral house.

Mukherjee, Talati and Rathinam are with private equity firm Actis LLP. While Talati is a director of consumer group at Actis and Rathinam a partner at the private equity firm, Mukherjee is head of South Asia at Actis LLP. Merani is the owner of Super-Max, a razor blade manufacturer and also the head of operations at Wesley International, Dubai.

Actis LLP has invested $125 million in Super-Max. Wesley International is the distributor of the Super-Max brand.

RESPONSE: “I am not a director of Wesley International Limited. I recommend you write directly to the company,” Shomik Prasanna Mukherjee said.

Prabir Talati said, “Wesley International Limited has not been set up by us. We recommend you write directly to the company.”

“I have kept the applicable authorities informed about my directorship,” said Ganapati Rathinam.

Nitin Vasudev Merani said, “All necessary approvals have been taken for setting up the company.”

— Khushboo Narayan, Mumbai & Jay Mazoomdaar , New Delhi

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