Companies

Winsome Diamonds fraud case: Jatin Mehta might have moved to Montenegro

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on February 11, 2020 Published on February 11, 2020

Businessman owes banks ₹6,500 crore; family also suspected to have fled India

Winsome Diamonds & Jewellery promoter Jatin Mehta, along with his family members, is suspected to have moved to the Balkan country of Montenegro in South-East Europe. The family faces a Red Corner Notice, and is being probed by Central agency sleuths for alleged bank fraud, said an Economic Times report.

According to a source cited in the ET report, a few companies floating in Montenegro’s capital Podgorica have links to Mehta and his family members. Two companies -- Pegasus Consultancy Ltd and Adamas International -- bearing registration numbers 50816580 and 50816614, respectively, were registered on the website of the registrar of companies, Podgorica.

 

The companies were registered on December 25, 2017. The ambassador of Pegasus Consultancy is Jatin Rajnikant Mehta.

Adamas International is 100 per cent owned by Jatin’s wife, Sonia. Boththe companies are in a similar business -- non-specialised wholesale trade. Additionally, theyare both headquartered at No 108, George Washington Boulevard, one of the most sought-after addresses in Podgorica.

 

Another limited liability company, Mehta Global, was registered in the same year. The company has Mehta’s close aide Munish Kumar as director, owning 100 per cent shares. It focusses on hospitality and hotel management.

 

Winsome Diamond scam

Mehta’s Winsome is known to be India’s third-biggest corporate defaulter after Kingfisher Airlines and Punjab National Bank defaulter Nirav Modi. While investigation agencies managed to extract properties worth over ₹6,000 crore in the Nirav Modi scam, they didn’t get any leads in the Winsome Diamond case. The family managed to escape the proceedings, leaving no trail behind. It was later found that they might have landed in St Kitts.

 

Mehta is a diamond merchant based out of Gujarat. He owes more than ₹6,500 crore to a consortium of banks. In 2016, Winsome was declared a “wilful defaulter.”

The officer investigating the case believes that after the Mehta family’s escape from India, they expanded their business in different countries. While maintaining their traditional business of lab-grown diamonds, they ventured into real estate and have acquired lands to further the prospects, said the ET report.

 

Agencies scrutinising Mehtas

At least four Central agencies — the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) and the Income-Tax Department — are probing the Mehtas.

 

The CBI has piled more than 10 cases against the businessman. In 2018, it filed a charge-sheet against 21 people including Mehta and his wife Sonia. Two former CMDs of Canara Bank and 15 public servants were also charged with helping Mehta acquire the loan. Also, the CBI wrote to Interpol, urging it to issue a Red Corner Notice against Mehta.

 

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Published on February 11, 2020
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