Indian nationals under the scanner of high-profile agencies including the Central Bureau of Investigation for financial crimes and irregularities, including links to suspect shell firms abroad, have links to 20 high-end real estate properties in Dubai, a global database accessed by The Indian Express, in partnership with the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), has revealed. The database has at least 20 Indian names who are under the lens for featuring on an earlier list of names of those who allegedly set up offshore entities in tax havens, the report claimed.
As per the reports, most of the Indians are long-term Dubai residents, with many who have lived outside India for more than a generation. Of the 129000 entries in the database, Indians have properties in top sites such as the Dubai Marina, Burj Dubai, Old Town Island, Palm Jumeirah, The World, Motor City, Emirates Living. Indians form a sizeable chunk of 5800 nationals.
According to Indian laws, it is not illegal for Indians to own property in Dubai. As per the Foreign Exchange Management Act of 1999, resident and non-resident Indians are allowed to own immovable properties abroad. As per Indian Embassy in UAE, Indians in the country, that numbers to around 2.6 million, constitute 30 percent of the population, and is the largest expatriate community in UAE.
Here are the Indians allegedly linked to top Dubai properties, as per The Indian Express report:
1) Arshad Ahemad Siddiqui, son of BSP MP Iliyas Azmi, is linked to one property in The Residences, Emaar. The address listed for Arshad Siddiqui in the database is the same listed for several companies owned by him in Mumbai.
2) Anil Adinath Bastawade is linked to a property in Emirates Living, The Lakes. Bastawade helped Maharashtra Minister Chhagan Bhujbal make benami investments in a coal mine in Indonesia.
3) Mukesh Kochhar and his wife own a company called Rich Rice in UAE. He is linked to four properties in Ridge Towers and Lake Hotel in Burj Dubai, and Dubai Investment Park. Kochchar in 2007 was linked to a match-fixing scandal and also illegal export of 60,000 tonnes of rice from India.
4) A Dubai-based jeweller, Kamlesh Parekh is linked to at least two properties — in Motor City and Old Town Island. Parekh’s brother Nilesh Parekh was arrested last year for allegedly cheating a consortium of banks worth Rs 2,200 crore. Parekh’s lawyer said that the properties have been bought Parekh in his capacity as an NRI and as a businessman in Dubai and are all officially declared.
5) Gurjit Singh Kochar is the is the son-in-law of Gurdeep Singh Chadha, alias Ponty Chadha, the former liquor baron. Kochar’s family owns the Al Mehtab Group in Dubai, the database includes emails of the Al Mehtab group for Kochar’s properties.
6) Business Raman Pillai Raghu Adeekalathu is linked to a property in Tall Tower, Burj Dubai. Income Tax officials said they were tracking flow of money from Abu Dhabi to a company named Agrritho International Pvt Ltd in Delhi.