An Interesting Business

wealthymattersThis is an interesting case I came across in today’s ET.I have no inside information’s, so no comments.The developments should interest would-be real estate developers in India.

A Canadian businessman of Indian origin, Alnoor Jamal, has accused both the sons of Maharashtra industries minister Narayan Rane and Mumbai-based builder Shobhit Rajan, among others, of ‘cheating’ him in a property-related issue.

In a petition filed at a metropolitan court in Mumbai, Jamal alleged that 13 acres of land he bought from Parke Davis in 1999 have been misused and a part of it was sold by his business associates to Nilesh Rane and Nitesh Rane without his knowledge at much-below market rates. The petition, which was reviewed by ET, alleges that the NRI businessman and Rajan had initially agreed to develop the property — located at the Sakinaka area, near the international airport — by investing . 2.5 crore each. They formed a company named Pantheon Infrastructure, formerly A-Class Builders, for the purpose.

“We are challenging wrongful auditing, money siphoning, dubious sale of properties and wrongful dilution of the petitioner’s stake,” said Fereshte Sethna, partner of DMD Associates, who is representing Akkadian Housing, a firm floated by Jamal, in the case. She refused to reveal details as the matter is sub judice.

The chartered accountant, who devised the draft shareholders agreement, has also been named as one of the respondents in the case. He has been accused of wrongfully hiding the facts on the book of accounts. Repeated attempts to reach the Ranes did not elicit any response.

According to Akkadian Housing and Infrastructure, Rajan had sold 18,000 sq ft of land to Ashwmegh Properties in 2000 and another 53,000 sq ft to Fine Plaza Multitrade in 2005. Both real-estate firms are owned by Nilesh and Nitesh, according to the petition.

On 4 Sept’13 another article related to the case made it to ET,Here is the article in toto:

The Mumbai police have ordered an inquiry against some of its officers who allegedly barged into the hotel suite of an Indian origin Canadian businessman at the dead of night and threatened him with arrest in connection with a cheating case.
Alnoor Jamal, who has business interests in several countries, including India, had complained to senior Mumbai police officers that some policemen walked into his suite at a hotel in south Mumbai last week at about 1.30 am. He said the police officers harassed and threatened him, leaving his suite only after the intervention of his lawyer.
“Our officers should not have gone to the hotel to question Jamal at 1.30 am,” a senior police officer said. “We will investigate why they went there at such an odd time and who had asked them to carry out this operation. A report will be prepared in three weeks.”
A law firm representing Jamal said the police have assured them of an impartial inquiry. “The midnight harassment of a foreign citizen and investor into India by the Khar and Marine Drive police, including attempt to impound passport and intimidate, was very unfortunate,” said Fereshte Sethna, a partner of DMD Associates. “The higher authorities have assured us that a detailed impartial inquiry will be conducted into the matter.”
In July, Jamal had in a complaint before a city court alleged that the sons of Maharashtra’s industry minister Narayan Rane along with a local builder had illegally sold a piece of land that belonged to him. The complaint said Nilesh Rane and Nitesh Rane, sons of the minister, and builder Shobhit Rajan had “misused” and sold a part of 13 acres of land in Mumbai’s
Saki Naka without his knowledge and much below the then prevailing market rate. A public relations manager of Narayan Rane said on Tuesday that the minister and his sons would not like to comment as the matter is in court.



About Keerthika Singaravel

13 Responses to An Interesting Business

  1. Yogesh says:

    This case is the height of crony capitalism of india. The nexus of Developer-Politician-Police-Musle Power. This happens only in India

  2. Asim Singh says:

    Hope you have read the article in the news. Would definitely want to read your comments. Here it is for you to read.
    Lookout notice against Canadian who evaded midnight arrest in 2013
    By Yogesh Sadhwani, Mumbai Mirror | Jun 7, 2014, 10.25 AM IST


    Ayear after a 62-year-old Canadian national, Alnoor Jamal, accused the Khar police of attempting to arrest him in the dead of the night from his five-star hotel suite at the behest of his business partner Shobhit Rajan, a city based developer, the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police has only given Rajan a clean chit, but has also issued a lookout notice against Jamal.

    The dispute between Jamal and Rajan pertains to the purchase of a prime land parcel near Mumbai International Airport for Rs 49 crore in 1999. The two had launched a real estate firm and agreed to invest equally to develop the property. While Jamal allegedly invested only Rs 2.45 crore, Rajan said in his complaint that he had to pay for the land as well as develop the property on his own.

    Six years later, Rajan had developed Logitech Park on the plot, and in 2013, Jamal filed criminal complaints in the magistrate court seeking his share in the venture, falsification of accounts, criminal breach of trust, and return on equity. While these complaints were pending, Rajan too moved the magistrate court seeking a first information report (FIR) against Jamal on charges of cheating, forgery and falsification of accounts.

    Separate magistrate courts ordered registration of the FIRs: one against Rajan at Saki Naka Police Station and another against Jamal at Khar Police Station. Around 1.30 am on August 29, the Khar cops reached Hotel Marine Plaza in south Mumbai to question Jamal.

    The Canadian national, who was staying in the hotel with his wife, managed to evade questioning or arrest with the help of his lawyers, and alleged police had acted at the behest of Rajan.

    An inquiry into Jamal’s allegations was launched the very next day. In October 2013, the EOW was asked to probe Jamal and Rajan’s complaints, and in April this year, Rajan was given aclean chit. The EOW on Thursday issued a lookout notice against Jamal.

    Sources said that the EOW has been asking Jamal to cooperate in investigations but he didn’t turn up in several weeks. A senior EOW officer said, “Jamal and a co-accused Nazir Mulla, didn’t turn up for questioning and we have now issued a lookout notice.”

    • Asim,this is how things are done in India.What you can prove in court matters.
      Its hard to do much when you are not in India.
      My feeling is that neither party is blame free.And the side with greater resources has won.
      What each side alleges is perfectly plausible.Such things are par for the course in case of real-estate development in Mumbai and in many other parts of the world too.

      • AP says:

        Really disappointing considering the new PM is strongly promoting FDI.

        The findings from the inquiry clearly state that the police were acting on Shobit Rajan’s directions. It further states that the officers actions were illegal, for which they should receive strict punishment. The findings are in the public domain if one were so inclined…

        To me it is evident that Shobit Rajan tried unsuccessfully to manipulate the system in the past, and this time around he seems to be successful through his manipulative offerings.

        These sort of actions will be a dampener on FDI’s into the country and send wrong signals to serious investors.

        Side note: informative blog and very well-written!

      • AP this case is par for the course both in Mumbai and India and for places abroad too,
        Investing in real estate at this early stage is for sophisticated investors/sharks.
        Foreign investors are of different levels of sophistication and the unsophisticated ones with nothing but extra cash are best advised to stay away from deep games.
        That said,investors,both foreign and Indian, go where the returns are best.Smart ones will not hazard what they can’t lose and will spend the requisite time and effort in learning and/or assembling a knowledgeable team.
        My personal opinion is that the Indian Government’s business is to promote the welfare of Indians and that’s best done by supporting Indian investors and businessmen in their endeavors to create/amass wealth world wide.Cosseting foreign investors and handing them things on a platter when the same treatment is not afforded to Indian business people abroad is nothing but pandering foreign money.
        We Indians will best serve our cause by ourselves building the world’s finest assets with our own resources so that anyways the world will come to us rather than us having to chase money that is acting too pricey.In this we will serve ourselves best if our government spends wisely on creating national assets that will ignite the entrepreneurial spirits of Indians rather than promote a culture of dependency and entitlement.
        The world owes us nothing but we owe ourselves the very best of everything,
        Money is nice,especially foreign money,but no true entrepreneur ever needs money form another.All good businesses generate their own money. Financing can merely speed up the growth process.
        Money will always chase good business.

      • AP says:

        Keerthika – we must be open-minded in our views. Indians are making great strides globally with heavy investments in North America, Europe, Africa etc where they are welcomed with open arms. It is important that foreigners investing in any country respect the laws of that country, but it is equally important that the law keepers uphold the law for locals and foreigners alike, and not allow themselves to be compromised by a local businessperson manipulating the system to serve his/her own selfish interests. As part of one’s wealth-building, their journey should not be marred by police high-handedness where the systems are used (or rather misused) to address selfish and greedy interests.

        With specific reference to this interesting case, I have investigated it quite thoroughly and have to tell you that what has been presented in the press is an iota of what is really happening leaving the readers very mis-informed. We cannot be narrow-minded and assume that all the facts are available in the papers for us to make a judgement. This is a case of a foreigner of indian origin that has invested back into the country of his roots. There are instances, such as this one, where a foreigner takes on a local partner (in turn aiding him/her on his/her wealth building journey), who takes their foreign counterpart for a ride by compromising the authorities to harass and intimidate him/her in the hopes that the foreigner will leave.

        I am happy to share with you documentation that will provide clarity of thought…

      • AP, first of all I don’t owe it to be anything,including what you consider’open minded’.

        Firstly,why do you imagine that all of us can’t read between the lines of what is reported in the press?

        Second,why do you imagine that resident Indians don’t behave this way with other resident Indians,in the case of investments/business of this nature?

        Third,why should things be different merely because one of the people involved is a foreign national?

        Fourth,why should special virtue be attributed to Mr Jamal because of his Indian Origin?Did he also not have a profit motive in mind?Being of Indian Origin how could he have failed to understand how Indians work?Why should we sympathize with his failure to do due diligence and team up with questionable partners?

        Yes,Indian money and skills are welcomed abroad when it suits the host country’s needs.There is no reason why the reverse should not be true for foreigners in India.Having personally experienced prejudice,discrimination and the biased and high handed police/bureaucracy in some of the countries you mention,you will forgive me if I have few sympathies for a foreign national who is so treated in India. At least the Canadian High Commission is in the picture,we Indians abroad can’t take our High Commission’s/Embassy’s support for granted.This is one of the risks of doing business abroad.Period.

        Sophisticated investments are for sophisticated investors.All investments carry risk.

        As this old post of mine has now become so unexpectedly popular and you style yourself as an aggrieved person,in the interests of fairness,I am willing to go through the documentation you offer and set straight the record if necessary.But please understand that I am unlikely to be any more sympathetic than well integrated Indian Origin People abroad are to freshly arrived Indians.

  3. sulaiman says:

    Do u have contact details of Alnoor Jamal

    • Might I know who wishes to know and why?

  4. PM says:

    Can you please share the link to ET article you read? I cant locate it:(

    • Here you are :Link

  5. sebastian says:

    An excellent read. I’ll definitely be back.

    • Thanks.You’re Welcome!

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