Gujarat HC quashes non-bailable warrant against Prithviraj Kothari

The report has been updated as a result of subsequent developments /> The Gujarat High Court on July 23, 2015, quashed a non bailable warrant (NBW) against Mumbai-based bullion trader Prithviraj Kothari, managing director of RiddhiSiddhi Bullions Ltd (RSBL). The NBW had been issued earlier by a special court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) cases in Ahmedabad, for alleged involvement in a multi-crore hawala racket believed to be part of the 2G scam.


The warrant was issued in the wake of an investigation by Enforcement Directorate (ED) that linked the diamond city of Surat, which allegedly acted as a gateway between Chennai and Dubai, for laundering of illegal money roughly to the tune of over Rs 5,000 crore. 


Seeking the issuance of an NBW against Kothari, the central agency had moved a petition before the special designated court for PMLA cases after he repeatedly didn't appear before ED despite being served summons.


Responding to an emailed query at the time, a spokesperson to Kothari had said: "Prithviraj Kothari as director of RSBL has never been involved in any illegal activities as is being made out. Further, Kothari has always cooperated with the authorities as he has done no wrong whatsoever."


The spokesperson had further stated that the company at any stage was not involved in the alleged hawala scam.


An ED official had said: "In this case, the money was sent outside India in two months. Their modus operandi was to put forged documents of diamonds import in a private bank at Surat and later they used to send the money against it to Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong."


According to the case details, the ED had, in its first charge sheet before the court, named 89 persons in connection with the scam, while in the second charge sheet, the agency had named Prithviraj Kothari as an accused.