White-collar crime in India
AZB & Partners represents a sophisticated set of international clients in sectors such as healthcare, pharmaceuticals and financial services in white-collar crime litigation. The bench includes practice co-head Vijayendra Pratap Singh, who had recent successes in defending clients before the High Court on financial misconduct allegations. Clients also engage the team on criminal matters including medical and professional negligence, often involving representation in police hearings and public inquiries. Co-head Soumit Nikhra is a market leader for forensic diligence and investigations, utilising cutting-edge discovery tools unique to the firm on matters pertaining to fraud, bribery, corruption, financial misstatement, infringement of IPRs and antitrust.
‘The uniqueness of AZB’s white-collar crime team is that they consist of both lawyers and accountants who used to work at big four accounting firms, which enhances the level of their services.’
Genpact India Private Limited
PwC India Private Limited
BSR & Associates LLP
KPMG India Ltd.
Uber India Systems Private Limited
PWC & Co.
Max Healthcare Institute Limited
Axis Bank Limited
Alpha Tiger Cyprus No. 1 & 3 Investment Ltd.
Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
Amway India Enterprises Pvt. Ltd.
Continental Hospitals Private Limited
Yatra Online Pvt. Ltd.
- Advised BSR & Co in a matter that impacts all auditors in the country in challenging the legality of a section of the Companies Act which seeks to debar entire an firm of auditors, facing an allegations of fraud, for five years, on a summary basis and agitates the discrimination between auditors and members of the management who may be guilty of the same fraud being subject to different procedures.
- Represented Axis Bank and successfully obtained a judgement from the High Court whereby, for the first time, a court has laid down detailed guidelines with respect to attachment of property under PMLA.
- Successfully obtained an order from the High Court directing the Police Authority to not take any coercive action against any employee of Genpact India Private including the persons named in the first instance report.
As a key vertical at Bharucha & Partners, the governance, ethics and anti-corruption practice provides a solid bench of experts for high-stakes white-collar crime disputes. Big-ticket corporates in the banking and finance, telecoms, pharmaceuticals and defence sectors regularly engage Sonam Gupta and practice head DP Singh for representation before the SEBI, NCLAT and Securities Appeal Tribunal on allegations of financial fraud and proceedings under POCA and PMLA. Defence of claims under SCOMET regulations were also recently handled while the team also acts for public prosecutors on bribery and corruption cases. Legal audits and corporate compliance due diligence is also handled.
Other key lawyers:
Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu)
AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals AB
Diageo plc and associate companies
Avantha Holdings Limited
Shivinder Mohan Singh
Jaypee Development Corporation Limited, its promoter & past directors
- Representing Ashok Daga in CBI proceedings arising from the coal block allocation scam.
- Advised Unitech Wireless in CBI v. A. Raja and others (2G spectrum case) before the Special Court and the Delhi High Court.
- Represented India businessman Gautam Thaoar before the SEBI, Securities Appellate Tribunal, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and the NCLT in connection with the alleged fraud in CG Power and Industrial Solutions Limited.
Khaitan & Co LLP fields an extensive bench of white-collar crime partners with expertise across the breath of typical and niche disciplines. Co-heads Rajiv Bhatnagar and Susmit Pushkar represent corporate clients in POCA and PMLA investigations by enforcement bodies, and also assist with internal investigations. Ongoing trial defence work includes High Court proceedings into money laundering allegations in the manufacturing sector, with instructions including high-stakes challenges to the powers of the Enforcement Directorate. Clients in the food and drinks sector engaged the team to defend criminal misconduct offences under the Food Safety and Standards Act. Bhatnagar is also representing clients in misconduct proceedings under the POSH act, and co-head Chakrapani Misra often advises clients on police investigations into economic crimes.
‘A well-respected law firm with a depth of knowledge in white-collar crime and related matters.‘
‘Bijal Ajinkya is knowledgeable and hardworking, with excellent client care skills.‘
‘Manavendra Mishra is knowledgeable and approachable, also with excellent client care skills.‘
‘The team has a profound experience with white-collar crime matters and is used to work on cross-border matters. The firm understands the needs of clients and provides services with the required speed and accuracy. This is a go-to place for every company or individual that faces a crisis.‘
‘Manavendra Mishra is a very hands-on, brilliant lawyer with loads of experience in white-collar crime matters with an international angle.‘
‘Susmit Puskhar is an experience white-collar crime lawyer known for his reliability and deep knowledge of the relevant laws and practices.‘
‘The team at Khaitan & Co is very talented, experienced and highly professional.‘
Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited
Microsoft Corporation (India) Private Limited
Usha Martin Limited
INOX Leisure Limited
Flipkart Internet Private Limited
Ceasefire Industries Private Limited
Match Group LLC (Tinder)
- Advising Dalmia Cement in relation to and ongoing trial for alleged offences arising out of allegations of corruption and bribes being paid by the client to the kith and kin of politicians and government servants, for grant of mining leases and other benefits.
- Assisted a major leading global IT company with responding to a show-cause notice issued by the Enforcement Directorate, alleging breach of order for interception/monitoring/decryption of data issued under Section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
- Advising Usha Martin Limited on an investigation launched by the CBI under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Kochhar & Co.’s market-leading white-collar crime practice represents multinational corporate clients in anti-bribery and anti-corruption investigations conducted by the Enforcement Directorate, CBI, police and all other authorities. Practice heads Rohit Kochhar and Krishna Vijay Singh represent their clients in high-profile litigation in the apex courts involving actions under POCA and the PMLA. The team handles highly sensitive and high-stakes parallel criminal and civil litigation involving senior financial misconduct and trade secrets theft, most recently for global technology companies. The team is equally experienced in representing financial institutions, individual directors and public bodies across all sectors. Leveraging the firm’s license to operate in Dubai, the firm often conducts cross-border work for banks and financial services institutions in the Middle East.
‘Rohit Kochhar is really passionate about his clients’ engagements, always showing a proactive approach with the clients’ interest being his polar star.‘
‘The basic strength of the firm is that it has very competent and experienced partners who, in addition to other elements, understand the importance of providing legal solutions in a timely manner. The firm maintains the highest quality in its work, which is performed keeping the latest amendments/change of laws into focus. We are very satisfied as the firm.‘
‘Rohit Kochhar is the most accessible and dynamic senior lawyer we have ever dealt in a law firm.‘
Falck Denmark A/s
- Representing Actial Farmaceutica in a complex financial fraud involving multiple jurisdictions including India, Switzerland, Italy, Korea, and the US, including commercial disputes over claims to a probiotic product.
- Represented Nuance Communications and its Indian subsidiary on extortion claims against a former employee and vendor.
- Represented one of the world’s leading and largest technology and networking giants, in a case involving theft of confidential information and proprietary technology of from company.
Boutique firm MZM Legal, Advocates & Legal Consultants has a focus on the white-collar crime and criminal defence practice areas, provided by a team led by Zulfiquar Memon and Parvez Memon. Investigations work is particularly broad, with the global corporate client base retaining the team for investigations conducted by the CBI, Enforcement Directorate, SFIO, Economic Offences Wing and all other regulators and authorities. In terms of litigation, Memon and Memon, Waseem Pangarkar and senior associate Chirag Naik recently represented international financial services companies and UHNWI in the High Court on charges of financial fraud, criminal contempt, diversion of funds and embezzlement (the latter involving extradition proceedings).
Edelweiss Financial Services Limited
Kotak Mahindra Bank
Chatterbox Technologies Pvt. Ltd
Tata Sons Private Limited
Tata Capital Financial Services
Tata Technologies Limited
Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd.
National Spot Exchange Limited
The Yash Birla Group
Tecnimont Private Limited
- Successfully represented Tata Sons Private Limited and its directors in a writ petition for quashing and setting aside of a criminal defamation action brought against them by Mr. Nusli Wadia (Chairman – Wadia Group of Companies) before the High Court.
- Acted on behalf of and advised Edelweiss Asset Reconstruction and its directors (at the relevant time) in a criminal prosecution initiated by the promoters of a company acquired by the client.
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co has a top-tier white-collar investigations practice led by Pallavi Shroff, with multijurisdictional instructions coming from global financial services, telecoms, FMCG, construction and manufacturing clients, among others. Nishant Joshi fields expertise in handling parallel civil and criminal proceedings concerning claims of fraud, negligence, data theft, cybercrimes, money laundering and all other economic offences. Anuj Berry continues to build the extradition practice, having represented Indian clients in numerous dealings with Interpol involving cross-border corruption claims. Lateral hire Alina Arora from L&L Partners Law Offices further strengthened the anti-corruption governance and compliance skillset. M&A due diligence and anti-bribery/anti-corruption post-merger compliance is routinely supplied to the firm’s corporate clients.
HCL Technologies Limited
J.P. Morgan India Private Limited
Quikr Mauritius Holding Limited
Motorola Solutions India Private Limited
Samsung India Electronics Limited
Vigen Healthy Tech India Private Limited
Punjab National Bank
- Representing Punjab National Bank in proceedings before Adjudicating Authority and Appellate Tribunal involving a defrauding of the client of over $3bn.
- Representing Citibank as complainant in a criminal trial conducted by the Special Court under the PMLA into cheating and criminal misappropriation of depositors’ money, by an employee, in conspiracy with third parties.
- Representing J.P. Morgan in a Supreme Court-monitored investigation being conducted by the Directorate of Enforcement, into the financial dealings (including inward and outward remittance of funds), of one of India’s largest real estate companies, Amrapali Group.
Ashish Bahn and practice head Shankh Sangupta drive the white-collar investigations and compliance offering at Trilegal. Recent highlights involved employee data theft, anti money laundering and anti-bribery actions. Kunal Gupta provides strength on the forensic analysis side, which is applied to cybercrime matters, trials and pre-acquisition due diligence. Criminal trials into corporate fraud in the aerospace, defence and aviation sectors are regularly handled, with other sectors of focus including IT, ITES, e-commerce and financial services.
Other key lawyers:
- Advising Leonardo Spa in the investigation by the CBI and Directorate of Enforcement in relation to allegations of bribery in a multimillion-dollar VVIP helicopter supply contract and related court proceedings.
- Representing Heineken as an investor in United Breweries Limited and its nominee directors in ongoing criminal cases arising out of complaints filed by vendors of UBL in Lucknow.
- Advising Tata Communications in proceedings initiated by the Enforcement Directorate for alleged contravention of the Foreign Exchange Management Act.
DSK Legal maintains a solid reputation for white-collar crime litigation, owing to the expertise of practice heads Anand Desai and Vikrant Singh Negi. Recent instructions included parallel civil and criminal proceedings into fraud, money laundering, corruption, breach of trust and cybercrime allegations. The team often represents its international client base (which comprises corporates, investors and UHNWIs) in investigations conducted by the Economic Offences Wing, SFIO, CBI and other authorities. Also noteworthy is the team’s representation of a multitude of former executives in the public banking sector in high-stakes and high-value financial misconduct litigation.
‘Commitment and ability to manage issues with minimum fuss and maximum ability. They are a joy to work with.‘
‘This team is highly specialised in white-collar crime. Highly prepared and good knowledge of the laws in India.‘
‘Vikrant Singh Negi is patient and takes the time to understand our business. His legal solutions provide good results and for the company to continue its business with minimal interruption.‘
Flipkart Internet Private Limited
Vuclip India Private Limited
Essilor India Private Limited
India Today Group
Blue Dart Express Limited
Former chairman/ MD, Deputy MD, and other executive directors of IDBI Bank Limited
Ms. Usha Ananthasubramanian, former Manging Director and CEO of PNB
Mr. Hari Sankaran former Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, IL&FS
Avantor Sciences, India
Sterlite Technologies, India
Solara Active Pharma Sciences Limited
Ashvin Gidwani Productions Private Limited
- epresenting Instakart, its director and other employees, against charge sheets filed by the Aurangabad Crime Branch involving allegations of trading and dealing with hazardous weapons through its online portal and storing them at a warehouse owned by Instakart without obtaining requisite approvals under Indian law.
- Representing Ms. Usha Ananthasubramanian, the former managing director and CEO of PNB, in all civil and criminal proceedings initiated by the Indian government in connection with the alleged fraud of $1.4nbn committed by entities controlled by two leading jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi on PNB (Indian public sector bank).
- Representing Vuclip in all civil and criminal proceedings initiated by Hungama Digital Media Entertainment Private Limited. Hungama has filed a criminal complaint under the Copyright Act and a civil suit for recovery of damages alleging that Vuclip has infringed the IP of Hungama and made illegal profits.
Co-head Avik Biswas of IndusLaw’s white-collar crime practice leads on cross-border assessments and audits into internal corporate structures, recently for clients in the pharmaceuticals, financial services, IT and manufacturing sectors. Recent highlights for co-head Avimukt Dar involved representing clients’ interests before the SEBI and other regulatory bodies on financial fraud allegations involving forensic audits into historical financial misstatements. The team also assists clients with responding to whistleblower complaints involving fraud and embezzlement allegations. Founding partner Kartik Ganapathy co-heads the practice, adding strength to the internal investigations offering.
Kraft Heinz India
RKSV Securities (Upstox)
Client Network Services, Inc.
- Representing two former managing directors of Ricoh India Limited before the SEBI and Securities Appellate Tribunal in relation to an investigation being carried out by SEBI.
- Mindtree took a decision that it would Overhauled Mindtree Limited’s entire anti-bribery and anti-corruption compliance matrix.
J Sagar Associates
The anti-corruption and white-collar crimes practice at J Sagar Associates has a strength in conducting internal investigations and fact-finding exercises into all forms of professional misconduct for a corporate client base. Co-head Rupinder Malik launched the Women’s White Collar Defense Association in India, which has driven rapid expansion of the vertical. Dheeraj Nair leads on contentious matters including complaints launched by the SFIO and providing defence in cases involving allegations of cybercrime, corruption and all firms of financial misconduct. Co-heads Sajai Singh and Shivpriya Nanda add strength to corporate due diligence and compliance structures.
Other key lawyers:
- Conducted anti-corruption, human resource and conflict resolution training for various multinational companies in India.
- Conducted an independent anti-corruption investigation on behalf of a leading global medical devices company in relation to certain activities of its Indian subsidiary.
Key names at L&L Partners Law Offices for white-collar crime litigation include co-heads Bharat Chugh and Vijay Sondhi. Ongoing instructions from multinational financial institutions and healthcare companies include criminal proceedings spanning all forms of financial misconduct claims. Internal and regulatory investigations and anti-corruption compliance measures are spearheaded by co-heads William Vivian John and Samarth Gupta. Particularly noteworthy is the significant number of financial misconduct and money channeling claims handled by the team. The expansive client roster on this side comprises global names in IT, manufacturing, chemicals, defence, FMCG, and heavy industry.
ICICI Bank Limited
- Represented Mr. Kalanithi Maran and Sun TV the 2G Spectrum Scam cases, arising out of the Aircel-Maxis deals.
- Advising Mr. bureaucrat Ashok Jha in a CBI investigtion into alleged irregularities committed in grant of approval for foreign direct investment to certain companies in 2006 by the Union Finance Minister as well as several bureaucrats.
Neerav Merchant leads the anti-corruption advisory practice at Majmudar & Partners, which maintains a client roster of pharmaceuticals, IT, healthcare, professional services and heavy industry names. The practice is focused on conducting internal investigations into financial misconduct and advising on anti-corruption and anti-bribery compliance measures and policies. Risk mitigation checks and due diligence on cross-border M&A transactions are also provided.
Manilal Kher Ambalal & Co Advocates, Solicitors and Notary
Faisal Sayyad spearheads the white-collar crime practice at Manilal Kher Ambalal & Co Advocates, Solicitors and Notary, which is retained by high-profile international banks, financial services institutions and industrial clients. The team regularly provides representation before the courts and regulators on all manner of financial misconduct claims, with niche expertise in providing defence of breaches of the Environmental Protection Act. On the claimant side, the team is pursuing novel proceedings against former employees concerning fraudulent activity of an employee provident fund.
Axis Bank Limited
Grasim Industries Limited
Hindalco Industries Limited
ICICI Bank Ltd.
Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited
IL&FS Financial Services Limited
- Obtained a stay for Axis Bank under the Code of Criminal Procedure against a police station that issued a notice to the Executive Director and the Vice President of the bank concerning allegations of fraud levelled against them.
- Representing Grasim Industries Limited Hindalco Industries Limited in a complaint filed against the clients under the Environmental Protection Act.
- Representing ICICI Bank in a suit against its former employee and others in respect of fraud conducted in respect of the provident fund belonging to its employees.
Veritas Legal has witnessed a steady expansion of its white-collar crime practice under practice heads Abhijit Joshi and Rahul Dwarkadas. Dispute resolution and investigation engagements are particularly active, notably regarding allegations of funds siphoning, regulatory compliance disputes (including in regards to minimum wage) and breaches of confidential and price-sensitive information. Representation before the CBI and police hearings are given, and a comprehensive forensic and legal audit offering is also provided. Stand-out clients include international auditors and financial services companies.
‘The team is agile and has an expertise across various areas of law.‘
‘Abhijit Joshi has a sense of the business and the related laws applicable and marries the two to provide a comprehensive and practical strategic approach.‘
‘Rahul Dwarkadas provides trategy on litigation and handles complex situations.‘
Deloitte Haskins & Sells
Abbott Healthcare Ltd.
Huntsman International Ltd.
Forbes & Company Limited
The Walt Disney (India) Company Private Limited
Universal Majestic Co-operative Society Limited
AP & Partners, a new firm on the market established by Trilegal alumni Anand Prasad, provides strategic white-collar criminal defence and regulatory support to a client base comprising mid-tier corporates and investment funds. The practice is co-headed by commercial litigator Sandeep Das; ongoing work for Das includes parallel civil and criminal proceedings involving fraud allegations, and trials instigated under POCA and PMLA.
- Representing AgustaWestland in criminal trials instituted under the Prevention of Corruption Act and Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
- Representing SAIF Partners and its employees in the criminal proceedings instituted against the promoters of Catmoss Retail Private Limited on account of fraud of 150 crores committed by its promoter.
BTG Legal provides a whistleblower and investigations practice under the leadership of Prashant Mara, who is retained by an international client roster to handle actions involving data theft, fraud, discrimination and corruption. Recent actions involved dealings with the CBI and a high volume of defence instructions under the PMLA. Sectors of focus include IT, financial services and retail.
Recent highlights for the white-collar crime practice at Vertices Partners saw practice heads Amit Vyas and Vinayak Burman initiate proceedings before the Economic Offences Wing on allegations of financial misconduct and mismanagement. The team regularly represents client’s interests during police hearings and investigations into criminal misconduct, most recently for clients in the financial services sector. Forensic diligence is also a primary aspect of the practice.
Jnyan Patel & SRP Group LLC
Verificorp Creative Services India Private Limited
- Represented Jnyan Patel & SRP Group LLC at the Economic Offences Wing, Mumbai against accused persons, namely Envision Scientific Private Limited and its promoters
- Represented Rajesh Tayal and Niti Tayal against Solaris Developers Private Limited in respect of unauthorised construction at Goregaon by the builder.