White-collar crime in India

Bharucha & Partners

The stand-alone white-collar crime team at Bharucha & Partners is regularly involved in the market-leading cases, such as the ongoing ‘2G spectrum scam’ and 'coal block allocation scam’ cases before the upper courts; D.P. Singh and Sonam Gupta led the cases respectively. The team makes regular appearances before the Securities Exchange Board on financial cases for a client list of domestic and multinational corporates and significant individuals. Advising and assisting on criminal investigation enacted by the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI is another core aspect of the firm.

Practice head(s):

MP Bharucha; D.P Singh; Justin Bharucha

Key clients

Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu)

Mr. Ashok Daga

Sunil Narain

Bhadra International India

AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals

Diageo

Work highlights

  • Representing Unitech Wireless in the $40bn ‘2G spectrum scam’ case.
  • Representing Ashok Daga in the ‘coal block allocation scam’ case
  • Advising Sunil Narain (former shareholder and CMD of Air Travel Bureau) in a compliant filed before the Economics Offences Wing pertaining to financial misconduct.
  • Representing AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals in proceedings before the Securities Exchange Board concerning a complaint of unfair trade practices.
  • Represented Diageo in obtaining a reprieve from the Securities and Exchange Board from making an open offer to acquire United Spirits.

Khaitan & Co.

Routinely praised by peers as leaders in the field, Khaitan & Co.’s white-collar crime practice handles all manner of instructions including high-profile criminal trials, government investigations and internal gross misconduct investigations; recent mandates saw an uptick in actions carried out by the Economic Offenses Wing. Standout names Ajay Bhargava and Susmit Pushkar bring international arbitration experience, having represented global corporates before the ICC, SIAC and LCIA. The firm routinely handles whistleblower investigations and disputes concerning theft of proprietary information.

Practice head(s):

Ajay Bhargava; Susmit Pushkar; Vinay Joy; Chakrapani Misra; Raj Panchmatia

Work highlights

  • Instructed by Qatar Museums to assist with the freezing of funds and arrest of an art fraud perpetrator who defrauded the client of more than $750,000.
  • Represented a large conglomerate before the Supreme Court on allegations of document theft.

Kochhar & Co.

Kochhar & Co. fields eight partners with criminal court expertise who are regularly instructed on investigations and litigation concerning allegations of financial and securities fraud, professional misconduct, criminal liability and criminal breach of trust. The firm offers High Court and Supreme Court representation for a solid mix of domestic and foreign corporates. Practice heads Rohit Kochhar and Krishna Vijay Singh have been involved is some of the most high-profile recent fraud matters in the banking and pharmaceuticals sectors.

Practice head(s):

Rohit Kochhar; Krishna Vijay Singh

Key clients

Actial Farmaceutica

CD Pharma Group

AON Consulting

Dow Jones

Gemini Developers

Everonn Education

Falck Group

GEMS Education

IATA

Meidansha Corporation

Regus

Work highlights

  • Representing CD Pharma Group in a complex, cross-border dispute concerning allegations of financial and corporate fraud.
  • Advised Dubai-based real estate developer Gemini as the plaintiff in a cross-border corporate fraud dispute.
  • Engaged by Falck Group in relation to a complaint filed by its India subsidiary against the former CFO and others alleging the siphoning off of INR30m of funds.
  • Represented International Workplace Group in defending a complaint alleging criminal breach of trust and cheating.
  • Assisting TII Group with an investigation concerning allegations of corporate fraud, criminal breach of trust and conflict of interest.

MZM Legal, Advocates & Legal Consultants

Recent matters for MZM Legal, Advocates & Legal Consultants’ white-collar crime practice involved defending high-profile individuals and companies against allegations of money laundering, tax evasion and criminal defamation. Team heads Zulfiquar Memon and Parvez Memon also provide assistance with investigations carried out by the Economic Offenses Wing, CBI and SFO. Criminal matters in the cybercrime space is another field of expertise for the firm.

Practice head(s):

Zulfiquar Memon; Parvez Memon

Key clients

Tata Group

Essar Group

Reliance Jio Infocomm

National Spot Exchange

Irish Bank Resolution Corporation

Tecnimont

Times Group

Naaptol Online Shopping

Skardin Industrial Corporation

Tata Trusts

Yash Birla, Chairman – Yash Birla Group

Work highlights

  • Representing former head of airbus India, in money laundering allegations levelled against them by the Enforcement Directorate.
  • Represented previous managing trustee of Tata Trusts, in a writ petition for the quashing and setting aside of a criminal defamation action brought against them by Shapoorji Pallonji & Company.
  • Defending Yash Birla, chairman of the Yash Birla Group, in allegations of tax evasion under the Black Money and Imposition of Tax Act.
  • Representing Tecnimont in a cybercrime case involving a defrauding of $18m by Chinese hackers.
  • Representing National Spot Exchange in over 35 criminal cases under the Negotiable Instruments Act for alleged dishonour of cheques amounting to INR900 crore.

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co

Nishant Joshi of Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co’s white-collar crime practice is a leading name when it comes to criminal trials concerning banking fraud (having acted on the high-profile case for Punjab National Bank), misappropriation of funds, defamation and bribery. Under the leadership of Anuj Berry, the firm handles all manner of investigations including cross-border actions by federal anti-corruption and anti-money laundering authorities (including the CBI). Malak Bhatt is a noteworthy principle associate who assists with internal investigations resulting from whistleblower complaints. Other recent instructions for the firm involved court proceedings concerning data theft, allegations of fraudulent transactions and breach of trust cases.

Practice head(s):

Pallavi Shroff

Other key lawyers:

Anuj Berry

Key clients

Deloitte

Infosys

Citibank

Air Asia

Microsoft

Motorola

Tata Sons

GM

United States Department of Justice

Engie

Brightstar

Ingram Micro

Nikon

Facebook

POSCO

Fitbit

Metso

Whatsapp

Vigen

Work highlights

  • Acting for Punjab National Bank before the Adjudicating Authority in the high-profile $3bn bank fraud case.
  • Advising a Finnish cable and wire manufacturer on a criminal investigation initiated by one of its vendors. Currently initiating court proceedings seeking to quash the investigations.
  • Acting for Citibank as lead criminal counsel in cheating and criminal misappropriation proceedings against an employee.
  • Advising a multinational investment banking client as an interested party in a criminal investigation initiated by the CBI against Kingfisher Airlines.
  • Advising a budget airline on fraud allegations against the former CEO.

AZB & Partners

AZB & Partners’ white-collar crime offering assists with regulatory investigations by the breadth of authoritative bodies, with recent matters pertaining to alleged criminal negligence, violations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act and asset misappropriation. The firm also handles the implemention of compliance frameworks and whistleblower response procedures.

Practice head(s):

Zia Mody; Soumit Nikhra; Nohid Nooreyezdan; Vijayendra Pratap Singh; Aditya Vikram Bhat

Key clients

Max Healthcare Institute

Axis Bank

Continental Hospitals

Genpact India

PWC India

Uber India Systems

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

Amway India Enterprises

Alpha Tiger Cyprus Investment

Work highlights

  • Represented Max Healthcare Institute in defending its interests in multiple investigations into the pricing of medication by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority.
  • Represented Axis Bank in a proceeds of crime investigation initiated under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
  • Represented Continental Hospitals in a criminal investigation and regulatory proceedings in relation to a complaint filed alleging lapses in the organ transplantation programme managed by the client.
  • Assisted Genpact India with an investigation into allegations of criminal negligence.
  • Representing PricewaterhouseCoopers India in an investigation by the Enforcement Directorate into alleged violations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act.

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas

The majority of instructions at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas involve establishing white-collar crime compliance frameworks and anti-bribery and corruption reviews for corporate clients. The team assists with internal investigations owing to whistleblower complaints, while forensic diligence on corporate transactions is also another regular avenue of work. Former practice head Kunal Gupta departed for Trilegal.

Testimonials

 

A user-friendly, market-leading white-collar crime practice.

Key clients

Varian Medical Systems

Standard Chartered Private Equity

Tirupati Medicare

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone

India Resurgence Asset Management Business

Work highlights

  • Conducted risk analysis and due diligence on the white-collar crime compliance framework for Varian Medical System’s acquisition of Cancer Treatment Services International.
  • Conducted anti-bribery and corruption diligence for Standard Chartered Private Equity’s acquisition of a stake in Travel Boutique Online Group.
  • Conducted a compliance review for India Resurgence Asset Management Business.

DSK Legal

Large-scale investigations are a strong point for DSK Legal’s white-collar crime practice; team leader Anand Desai represents corporate clients and high-profile individuals in high-value financial fraud investigations carried out by the SFO and CBI. The team also helps to initiate actions against previous employees when allegations of gross misconduct arise. Clients also approach the firm to provide assistance with establishing anti-corruption and fraud-prevention mechanisms.

Practice head(s):

Anand Desai

Key clients

IDBI Bank

Karan Johar (Bollywood Director)

QNet India

Sequent Scientific

First Insight

IPS Mehtali

Former Chairperson of PNB Bank

Flipkart

Blue Dart

Work highlights

  • Representing the former chairman of Indian Infrastructure and Finance Company in an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office alleging conspiracy and abuse of powers by the management.
  • Defending Flipkart against allegations of handling prohibited goods.
  • Defending the management of IDBI Bank in connection with an allegedly fraudulent loan transaction of INR950 crore.
  • Advising Usha Ananthasubramanian on a CBI investigation concerning INR1400 crore of fraud allegations while acting as CEO and managing director of Punjab National Bank.
  • Representing First Insight in an investigation against former employees concerning stolen proprietary data.

Dua Associates

Dua Associates assists domestic and international clients with implementing compliance measures for US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, UK Bribery Act and the extant anti-bribery laws in India. This includes conducting due diligence on M&A transactions and business expansions.

IndusLaw

The strength of IndusLaw’s white-collar crime offering lies in conducting internal investigations for commercial clients when allegations of anti-bribery, anti-corruption and codes-of-conduct breaches arise. Partners from the firm’s employment and commercial litigation practices also regularly revise and devise internal guidelines and enforcement structures in compliance with the relevant laws.

Practice head(s):

Avik Biswas; Avimukt Dar; Kartik Ganapathy; Manishi Pathak

Key clients

AirBNB

Gates Corporation

Nielsen India

Naspers Group

ICICI Lombard

OYO Rooms

Allegis Group

Kraft Heinz India

RKSV Securities (Upstox)

Softbank Energy

Work highlights

  • Instructed to create and anti-bribery and anti-corruption programme for Kraft Heinz India.
  • Instructed by Elevar Advisors to overhaul its anti-bribery and anti-corruption policies to comply with Indian law.
  • Created extensive anti-corruption and anti-bribery guidelines for OYO Rooms, India’s largest hospitality company.
  • Engaged by Softbank Energy to review its anti-bribery programme.

L&L Partners Law Offices

L&L Partners Law Offices’ extensive bench handles the full range of white-collar criminal cases as they arise. Previous practice head Anirban Bhattacharya has left the firm to establish an independent practice.

Majmudar & Partners

Majmudar & Partners recently handled a number of white-collar crime investigations for a mix of US and Indian companies concerning allegations of financial misconduct and senior level misconduct. The nature of the investigations involved highly complex forensic analysis of onsite materials and policy. The firm also advises its client base — ranging from names in the healthcare, pharmaceuticals, commodities and IT sectors — on drafting anti-corruption policies, international compliance and risk mitigation.

Practice head(s):

Neerav Merchant

Manilal Kher Ambalal & Co Advocates, Solicitors and Notary

Manilal Kher Ambalal & Co Advocates, Solicitors and Notary represents a healthy client roster of banks, venture capital funds and former company directors in white-collar crime litigation, both in defense and claimant instructions. Recent matters involved allegations of financial misconduct and breaches of various acts (such as the Environmental Protection Act and the Maharashtra Shops & Establishment Act). Advice on anti-money laundering and anti-corruption regulations is also provided.

Practice head(s):

Vikram Trivedi; Faisal Sayyed; Mayur Bhojwani

Testimonials

The firm provides legal advice which keeps in mind commercial considerations.

Vikram Trivedi is very good and has ensured that his team has grown with him.

Key clients

ICICI Venture Funds Management Company

ICICI Bank

India Advantage Fund

Kotak Mahindra Bank

Grasim Industries

Ultratech Cement

Hindalco Industries

Hina Khanna

Nitin Khanna

Work highlights

  • Defended the directors of ICICI Venture Funds Management Company in criminal proceedings pertaining to dishonour of cheques issued by the client.
  • Represented Kotak Mahindra Bank and its vice president in a complaint filed by the Municipal Corporation for occupying a building without obtaining an occupation certificate .
  • Represented the managing director of Ultratech Cement in criminal proceedings initited for contravening the Maharashtra Shops & Establishment Act.
  • Represented Hindalco Industries and its managing director in a complaint filed by an activist citing contravention of the Environmental Protection Act.
  • Representing ICICI Bank as defendant in criminal proceedings concerning the non-receipt of pensions due.

Trilegal

Multinational clients often instruct Trilegal’s white-collar crime professionals to assist with criminal investigations by the CBI and other authorities concerning allegations of bribery, corruption, money laundering, economic fraud and other financial misconduct practices. The firm appears before the upper courts on intervention applications. Non-contentious work centres on implementing compliance frameworks and risk assessment initiatives as well as conducting due diligence on acquiring corporate entities. The practice was boosted by the hire of the highly regarded Kunal Gupta from Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas in September 2019.

Practice head(s):

Sitesh Mukherjee; Shankh Sengupta; Ashish Bhan

Key clients

Leonardo

AgustaWestland International

Embraer

Omron

Tata Communications

Tata Communications Payment Solutions

Omers

IQVIA

Vesuvius

Work highlights

  • Advising Italian multinational Leonardo on a CBI investigation concerning bribery allegations in a VVIP helicopter supply contract.
  • Advising Embraer on a CBI and Enforcement Directorate criminal investigation concerning cross-border corruption.
  • Advising Tata Communications in High Court proceedings enacted by the Enforcement Directorate for alleged contravention of the Foreign Exchange Management Act.
  • Advising Omron Healthcare on a settlement negotiation in relation to the embezzlement of funds by a number of managerial-level officers.
  • Advising Vesuvius on a CBI investigation concerning senior-level bribery allegations.