Bosnia: Indian businessman charged with organized crime

Jan 26, 2023, 6:59 AM | Updated: 7:04 am

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Indian businessman Pramod Mittal was charged in Bosnia Thursday with heading an organized crime group and abuse of office while he was head of the supervisory board and co-owner of a coke plant in the northeastern town of Lukavac.

Mittal, the younger brother of Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, was charged with “heading an organized crime group” that allegedly helped him syphon nearly 11 million euros ($12 million) from Global Ispat Koksna Industrija Lukavac (GIKIL). He co-owned the plant near Tuzla in northeastern Bosnia with the local government.

Other charges include illegally taking over control of the metallurgical coke producer despite failing to invest 23 million euros, or more than half the amount he committed to invest in 2003 in return for the 51% stake in the company.

Seven others, including two Indian and 5 Bosnian former members of the company’s management, have been charged with Mittal on charges including organized crime, corruption and abuse of office.

Mittal and the other two Indians — GIKIL’s former general manager, Paramesh Bhattacharyya, and an ex-member of its supervisory board, Razib Dash — had been arrested in Bosnia in summer 2019. But they were released and left the country after agreeing to post bail of 1 million euros, in the case of Mittal, and 250,000 euros for the other two. All three remain outside Bosnia.

In 2019, the cantonal court in Tuzla had ordered Mittal to also deposit nearly 11 million euros for alleged damages to GIKIL.

In a statement announcing the indictment on Thursday, the court said the prosecutors had filed a request to revoke bail and order Mittal and the other Indians charged to be re-arrested and returned to jail over their repeated failure to appear for investigative hearings in Tuzla.

It was not immediately clear whether any of the people charged had formally responded to the charges.

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Bosnia: Indian businessman charged with organized crime