By Piyush Mishra
The promoter of the Hotel Royal Plaza in Delhi, Ram Praskash (RP) Mittal, filed a petition in the Delhi High Court, requesting that the Government of India (GOI) immediately prevent Ashok Mittal and his business partner Nand Kishore Chaturvedi—who is currently the most wanted hawala dealer—from siphoning off the Rs 28.29 crores they invested in the hotel in 2003 under the guise of foreign investment through their subsidiary Hillcrest Realty. The court has listed the case for hearing on February 20, 2024.
RP Mittal’s concerns stem from the fact that the Income Tax and Enforcement Directorate (ED) is looking into a number of dubious transactions involving Ashok Mittal and Nand Kishore Chaturvedi, including those involving the Hotel Plaza, as well as the fact that Hillcrest’s 20-year preference share investment term ended on July 19, 2023.
Between May and July 2003, the Malaysian company Hillcrest, controlled by Ashok Mittal and Nand Kishore Chaturvedi, bought 28,29,290 preference shares for a 20-year period. The money was transferred through dubious means, utilizing several front firms in tax havens and overseas. By working with these businesses, Hillcrest was able to stay anonymous and escape paying taxes on its investment. The business is facing dire repercussions as a result of the investigative agencies focusing on Hillcrest’s illicit activities, and there are concerns that the money may be siphoned to avoid being seized as it would be considered a “proceeds of crime” in a strict black money case.
Justice Amit Sharma, admitting the petition, said:” The present application under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. seeks the following prayers: “(a) Pass urgent appropriate Interim Order(s) to either attach the said “Proceeds of Crime of Rs.28.29 Crores” or to refrain the Respondent No.5 from remitting to the Respondent No.6 Company the “Proceeds of Crime” of Rs.28.29 Crores against redemption of 28,29,290 Nos.8.5% Redeemable Preference Share alongwith the unpaid dividend of Rs.7.21 Crores due since last 3 years, with further directions to the Respondent No.5 to keep the said total amount of Rs.35.50 Crores (comprising of Rs.28.29 Crores + Rs.7.21 Crores) in an Escrow Account subject to further direction(s) from this Hon‟ble Court. b) Pass urgent appropriate interim order(s) restraining Respondent No. 5 from issuing any fresh redeemable preference shares to Respondent No. 6 Company in lieu of the unpaid dividend of Rs. 7.21 crores due since the last 3 years, which are in fact the “Proceeds of Crime.” (c) Pass such further and/or other order(s) as this Hon’ble Court may deem fit in the facts and circumstances of the case;” 2. In view of the nature of the prayers in the present application, the same shall be decided at the time of deciding the present writ petition.” Respondents are Ashok Mittal, his son Vikram Mittal, NandKishore Chaturvedi, Hillcrest Realty, and Hotel Queen Road Private Limited (HQRP).