April Fool's Day 2022: 3 Tricksters Who Scammed Us
On April Fool's Day, we list out three individuals who use a different template while celebrating this day. They never say 'April Fools!' but then again, they don't need to. When a fraud of over thousands of crores is committed, eventually everyone does come to know, though by then these pranksters have left the country.
April Fool's Day is when we need to be prepared for practical jokes and hoaxes of all kinds. However, in the day and age that we live in, it seems fake news takes care of that quota for the rest of the year too. Normally, it is custom to shout "April Fools!' at the recipient when fooling them, but there are a host of businessmen in this country who use a different template while playing this game. They never say "April Fools!' but then again, they don't need to. When a fraud of over thousands of crores is committed, eventually everyone does come to know, though by then these pranksters have left the country.
We list out three such individuals on April Fool's Day, though we all know too well that the list is way longer than that.
"Dear Board Members, It is with deep regret, at tremendous burden that I am carrying on my conscience, that I would like to bring the following facts to your notice…" This is how Ramalinga Raju, the founder of Satyam Computers, began his confession letter on January 7, 2009 where he admitted to a fraud of Rs 7,136 crores through exaggerated profits and fabricated assets. With the news of the scam breaking, prices of the Satyam stock came down from Rs 188 at the beginning of the day to Rs 40. Soon that number came down to Rs 6.
The commerce graduate from Andhra Loyola College at Vijayawada and MBA from Ohio University, United States finally faced arrest in 2015 and received a seven year jail sentence for criminal cheating and conspiracy. As is customary nowadays, his story was part of Bad Boy Billionaires: India (2020) a documentary on Netflix, but in his latest trick, he managed to get a stay order on the release of his episode.
His company's large hoardings would tower over major roadways in various metro cities of India, until he was declared a fugitive. Founder of the Nirav Modi chain of diamond jewellery retail stores, he is being investigated in the astounding 14,000 crore INR in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case. Modi has been charged by the Indian government for cheating, corruption, money laundering, fraud, embezzlement, criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, and breach of contract in August 2018. The major players in this scam apart from Modi were his wife, Ami Modi, brother Nishal Modi, and uncle Mehul Choksi.
It was discovered that atleast two individuals, deputy manager Gokulnath Shetty and clerk Manoj Kharat, who were from the Brady House branch in Mumbai had consistently issued Letters of Undertaking (LoU) to Nirav Modi's companies without following due processes. It was on March 10, 2011 that Nirav Modi received his first fraudulent guarantee from PNB and went on to get 1,212 more such guarantees in the next 74 months. And unlike Raju, his episode was included in the Bad Boy Billionaire's web series.
Last but certainly not the least on this list in Mehul Choksi, Nirav Modi's uncle, who didn't get a Netflix special, but who knows what might happen in the near future, right?
Choksi is the owner of Gitanjali Group, a retail jewellery company with 4,000 stores all over India. Currently hiding from Indian authorities in Antigua and Barbuda, along with nephew Nirav Modi engineered the PNB scam. Since India does not have an extradition treaty with Antigua or Barbuda, it is the preferred runaway destination for financial fraudsters such as Choksi.
"I'm seeking help for the disastrous state of my mental health as I am consumed by constant fear, numbed by the shock of my experiences in the past few months. I am unable to step outside my house despite my doctors' recommendations and I seek to avoid the limelight at all costs now. My poor health doesn't allow me to go and do anything," he had told the news agency ANI in an interview in November 2021 after alleging a kidnapping incident and fearing for his life and being kidnapped again.
No wonder Netflix loves such businessmen so much.