White-collar crime in India

AZB & Partners

AZB & Partners is a go-to firm for well-known clients from the private equity, financial services, asset management, legal, accounting, consultancy, and manufacturing industries. The team handles complex white-collar crime cases at all stages of progression. Soumit Nikhra, who co-leads the team, is highly sought after for his breadth of experience in cross-border fact-finding investigations on matters related to fraud, bribery, and corruption. The team works closely with the firm’s competition and anti-trust group on complex abuse of dominance and cartel investigations. Co-head Aditya Vikram Bhat is highly regarded for his advice on large-scale internal investigations in complex white-collar prosecution matters with recent success in representing BSR & Associates LLP before the Bombay High Court regarding a sanction order passed by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

Practice head(s):

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

Testimonials

‘We hired the firm for the first time to meet an internal demand related to this practice. It is a team of highly skilled people with a strategic vision to align legal and business matters. The costs and billing procedures are aligned with the local benchmarking. ’

‘Prerak Ved and Soumit Nikhra were our main focal points along the works, delivering us consistent communication and proactive behavior, resulting in a favourable outcome. ’

Key clients

BSR & Associates LLP / KPMG India Pvt. Ltd.

PWC India Private Limited

Coastal Energen Private Limited

KPMG Assurance and Consulting Services LLP

Work highlights

  • Represented BSR & Associates LLP before the Bombay court concerning allegations of fraud and the subsequent sanction order passed by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
  • Advised Coastal Energen Private Limited before the Adjudicating Authority in the investigation of money laundering initiated by the Enforcement Directorate.
  • Represented KPMG Assurance and Consulting Services LLP against its partner Mr. Anuj before the Supreme Court and District court Noida, resulting in Mr. Anuj’s arrest.

Bharucha & Partners

Bharucha & Partners ’ governance, ethics, and anti-corruption practice is domestically and internationally recognised for high-value, high-stakes white-collar crime work. Its noteworthy client record includes multinational corporations, government entities, and high net worth individuals. Practice head DP Singh utilises his experience as the Additional Advocate General and acquired knowledge of government and investigation agencies when defending clients in cases under POCA; PMLA; FEMA; and SEBI. Clients benefit from Sonam Gupta’s expertise in defence strategies in corruption and money laundering cases. The team is experienced in representing clients before both the Supreme Court and the Directorate of Enforcement and also works with both Indian and global forensic experts. Shreya Sircar joined the firm in March 2021 from Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co and associate Manu Mishra is well rated for his work in various investigations.

Practice head(s):

MP Bharucha; DP Singh

Other key lawyers:

Sonam Gupta; Manu Mishra

Testimonials

‘Efficient team, very proactive and helpful in explaining the situation at hand .’

‘Have had the opportunity to work with Mr. DP Singh and Ms. Sonam Gupta, the brightest legal minds I have ever met.’

 

Key clients

Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt. Ltd.

Ashok Daga

Diageo Plc. and associate companies

Gautam Thapar

Avantha Holdings Limited

Mahabhadra Constructions Limited

Cybertech Systems and Software Limited

General Atlantic

Elevation Capital

Apollo Global

Work highlights

  • Advised Central advising Central Bureau of Investigation on the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam.
  • Represented Thapar, Avantha, Solaris and CG erstwhile CFO, V. R. Venkatesh and executives Madhav Acharya and B. Hariharan in various proceedings in connection with the alleged fraud in CG.
  • Advised and represented Diageo in an appeal that it filed before the Tribunal and SEBI against the order of SEBI.

Khaitan & Co.

Khaitan & Co.  features an impressive bench in its white-collar crime practice, with experts covering a wide scope of complex disciplines. The team is led by Rajiv Bhatnagar and Susmit Pushkar , is well versed in advising corporations on external investigations by enforcement agencies and internal investigations, at a preventative and prosecution level. In a recent landmark endeavour, the group represented leading banks in a FEMA investigation by the Enforcement Directorate. The team currently has an advisory role in some of the biggest financial frauds in India; Manavendra Mishra's banking background is of value here, he is highly regarded for multi-jurisdictional work in matters of money laundering, MLAT, investigations, and defence matters.

Practice head(s):

Rajiv Bhatnagar; Susmit Pushkar

Other key lawyers:

Manavendra Mishra

Testimonials

‘Up-to-date knowledge and relevant experience, accessible and prompt support & billing.’

‘Mr. Manavendra Mishra is knowledgeable and experienced with networking capability.’

The team has in-depth knowledge and experience. They quickly respond to calls and queries. They are positive and responsive.’

‘Partner Rajiv Bhatnagar never hesitates to take calls at any hour and is always available during a crisis situation. He is confident and positive’.

 

Key clients

Uber India

Moet Hennessy

India Private Limited

Hindalco Industries Ltd

Ares SSGICICI Bank Ltd.

Usha Martin Limited

Instakart Services Private Limited

Cannon Industries Private Limited & Group Companies

Max Estates Limited

Mohan Steels Limited

Flipkart Internet Private Limited

INOX Leisure Limited

Itochu Corporation

JapanMicrosoft Corporation (India) Private Limited

 

Work highlights

  • Contested the issuance of  challenges under Section 93 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 against Uber and its Key Management Personnel including Mr Travis Kalanick, the CEO of Uber Technologies Inc. for “canvassing” taxis in Delhi without a licence.
  • Advised Moet Hennessy India Private Ltd in registration on First Inform on Report (FIR) against its employees involved in the creation of fake vendor accounts, raising false invoices, and siphoning/misappropriating funds for personal gain. The matter was subsequently transferred to the Economic Offenses Wing (EOW) in Mumbai.
  • Challenged the Summoning Order issued to Hindalco Industries Ltd before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and challenged the constitutional validity of Section 13(1)(d) of the (Indian) Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.  The matter is currently pending before the Hon’ble Court.

Kochhar & Co.

Kochhar & Co. is a market leader in all areas of white-collar litigation, with highly proficient lawyers located in six offices across the major regions in the country. Founding firm member Rohit Kochhar chairs the team bringing 35 years of strategic experience, including seven years as a criminal lawyer, to his cross-regional work on critical corporate fraud and white-collar crime cases. The firm takes a hands-on approach to white-collar crime matters, frequently working closely with investigating police officers, and has developed close relationships with leading investigation and detective agencies. The team is experienced in handling matters involving a range of government agencies including the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate. Krishna Vijay Singh is particularly sought after for his strategic expertise in both criminal and civil law litigation, which lends itself to complex criminal cases with parallel civil proceedings involving serious financial misconduct and trade secrets theft.

Practice head(s):

Rohit Kochhar; Krishna Vijay Singh

Testimonials

‘The Firm’s main strength lies in Mr. Rohit Kochhar and his team’s experience and expertise in criminal and civil law, their handholding approach, and ability to exploit the slightest opportunity presented by the adverse party to turn around a case. The Principal/ Senior Associates in the Firm are also well trained and well versed with law, procedure, and facts of the cases they handle. I have observed that the Firm lays greater emphasis on keeping abreast with the latest judicial precedents in comparison to other firms. The Firm has a pool of resources for white-collar crime matters, which is difficult to find in other firms.’

‘We are dealing with Mr. Rohit Kochhar and Mr. Krishna Vijay Singh (KV) at the senior partner level. Mr. Rohit Kochhar is a great lawyer with outstanding skills. One of the best I have ever known. His main strength is his client-centric approach, leadership, and ability to prepare and execute a wholesome strategy for us keeping in view our business and commercial objectives. His oratory skills are unmatched and the best I have known, whether in India or elsewhere. He can articulate the most complex issues in simple and clear language. His experience and expertise in criminal law, when added to his above strengths, make him one of the best criminal lawyers we have ever worked with within India, or perhaps, the whole of the Asian region. He is passionate about his work and continuously thinks outside the box. Besides Mr. Kochhar, KV has also argued several matters for us successfully before the courts.’

The head partner (Mr Kochhar) is the strength. He himself is almighty, and he well manages his team member with each member’s various expertise.’

Their quality of legal analysis. In addition, it was such an urgent matter that we needed their help around the clock even over the weekend. They helped us with a legal analysis regarding our company’s responsibility and liability. Moreover, they helped us with an investigation by introducing a service company.’

 

Key clients

Actial Farmaceutica

Cisco

CMA CGM

Dow Jones

Everonn Education

Falck

Work highlights

  • Represented CMA CGM, a leading French container shipping company that chartered the APL Le Havre, in respect of all aspects of the collision including criminal matters, writ petitions, and working out a settlement with the fishing boat owner, surviving fishermen, and the families of the deceased.
  • Represented Italian pharma company Actial and its Indian subsidiary CD Pharma in a criminal writ before Delhi High Court seeking fresh investigation after the accused represented in money laundering proceedings in Switzerland that his counsel had examined the case diaries of the matter being investigated by the Economic Offences Wing, Delhi Police.

MZM Legal, Advocates & Legal Consultants

Boutique criminal defense firm, MZM Legal, Advocates & Legal Consultants covers a range of advisory and litigation white-collar crime matters, assisting in governmental prosecutions and investigations. Its white-collar crime and defence and criminal compliance and investigations team is co-lead by Parvez Memon  and Zulfiquar Memon , both well-versed in representing high-profile national and multi-national corporations as well as private clients including HNI’s before high courts. The team, including, Waseem Pangarkar , and senior associate Chirag Naik are currently representing the director and chairman of HDIL in one of India’s most notable banking scam investigations to date by the Directorate of Enforcement under PMLA.

Practice head(s):

Zulfiquar Memon; Parvez Memon

Other key lawyers:

Waseem Pangarkar; Chirag Naik

Testimonials

‘MZM have a very good team at all levels and are diligent, responsive, knowledgeable and work well as part of a team. ’

‘Zulfi is very well regarded and has great professional connections and expertise. Chirag is very knowledgeable in terms of the law and is very responsive and thorough. ’

‘MZM is a jewel in the Indian Crown; exceptionally able, high caliber lawyers and support staff who respond on a 24/7 basis. They work to a very high standard in terms of work output and are accessible. The team is in-depth and the Partners are immensely responsive. This is our “go-to firm” for all white-collar/dispute resolution needs ’

‘Parvez Memon and Zulfi Memon are two partners who are exceptional lawyers. Parvez Memon has an encyclopedic knowledge of Statutes and Local Caselaw and a brilliant legal mind. Zulfi is a master strategist and tactician outside court. Two of the younger lawyers to watch are Vivek Jain and Chirag Naik-two exceptionally hardworking lawyers with a superb grasp of the Indian procedural codes. ’

Key clients

Sarang Wadhawan, Rakesh Wadhawan

Dr. B R Shetty

Farouk Irani

Bennett Coleman & Company Ltd. (“BCCL”)

National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL)

Dinesh Pandey

IDF Holding

Anchor

Work highlights

  • Defended DR. B. R. SHETTY  in the Suit brought against him in India by Banks and FIs seeking recovery of debts and / or injunctions of disposal of assets. We have also been instructed to pursue the Indian leg of the criminal prosecution being initiated by the Client against the perpetrators of the fraud.
  • Represented the main disputing defendants, HDIL, SARANG WADHAWAN, RAKESH WADHAWAN and strategically advised in the challenging of a sale of 25 units by Ocean Deity Investments worth around USD 10 million.
  • Represented Mr. Pandey, who is in custody pursuant to his arrest by the Special Investigation Team (“SIT”) instituted by the State of Uttar Pradesh in relation to his alleged involvement in the “Bike Bot” scam.  The matter is valued at USD 400 million approx.

Trilegal

Full-service law firm Trilegal has a fast-growing white-collar crimes and investigation practice, with extensive experience in both non-contentious and contentious sides of the field. The multi-disciplinary team co-led by Shankh Sengupta; Ashish Bhan; Kunal Gupta; Nitesh Jain; and Pallav Shukla in New Delhi, advises on a range of matters pertaining to white-collar crime including anti-corruption and corporate frauds combined with valuable know-how in emerging areas of law such as data privacy. The team works closely with the firm’s esteemed employment practice, as most cases involve company-employee relations, and it regularly assists corporate clients in investigations conducted by police authorities, the CBI, Enforcement Directorate, and other enforcement agencies. Since publication, Anuj Berry joined from Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co in April 2022.

Practice head(s):

Shankh Sengupta; Ashish Bhan; Kunal Gupta; Nitesh Jain; Pallav Shukla; Anuj Berry

Key clients

Statkraft IH Holding AS

Brookfield Asset Management

Aarde Technosoft Private Limited

Jubilant FoodWorks Limited

Leonardo SpA

AgustaWestland

Heineken

Tata Communications Limited

Mack Star Marketing

Advance Construction Company Private Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Aarde on the risk on account of suspected illegal activities aimed at its servers; and its obligations to report a cyber security incident to the stakeholders.
  • Advised Jubilant FoodWorks Limited that operates Domino’s Pizza stores in India in respect of a hacking incident in March 2021, where certain unknown persons had illegally accessed the Company’s server; and deleted the data of its customers and employees.
  • Advised the Italian global high-tech multinational company specialising in aerospace, defence and security, Leonardo Spa, in the investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Directorate of Enforcement (ED) in relation to allegation of bribery in a multimillion-dollar VVIP helicopter supply contract and related court proceedings.

DSK Legal

DSK Legal ‘s litigation and investigative expertise in white-collar matters is underpinned by a highly capable team co-heads Anand Desai and Vikrant Singh Negi . The group offers its comprehensive experience representing its international client base before investigative agencies including the Directorate of Enforcement (ED), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Economic Offence Wing (EOW), Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI), Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) amongst others. Associate partner Ekta Tyagai specialises in these matters, with a focus on corporate law, and regularly appears before High Courts representing clients in complex economic offenses.

Practice head(s):

Anand Desai; Vikrant Singh Negi

Other key lawyers:

Ekta Tyagi

Testimonials

‘This practice has been gaining prominence with changing times. People and technology play important role where a white collar crime is concerned. The ability to understand the tech play and the people driving this understanding become key to this practice. DSK Legal has been at the forefront of people innovations backed by tech to enhance the results from this practice.’

‘I have interacted with Vikrant Singh Negi, Aninda Pal and Anand Desai who have spent time and given appropriate advice wherever needed to facilitate this. Their problem solving skills along with out of box solutions have helped navigate unusual issues.’

Key clients

Flipkart Internet Private Limited

Vuclip India Private Limited

Essilor India Private Limited

India Today Group

Ganesh Benzoplast Limited

IndiaMART InterMESH Ltd.

Aeres SSG

Gupshup Technology India Private Limited

Ms. Usha Ananthasubramanian

Mr. Hari Sankaran

Antony Waste Handling Cell Private Limited

Sterlite Technologies, India

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) India

Work highlights

  • Advised TV Today Network Limited (India Today Group) in an investigation by the enforcement directorate into the alleged manipulation of Television Rating Points (TRP) by various TV channels to manipulate the ratings and earn more advertising revenue.
  • Assisted Transaction Solutions International (India) Private Limited (TSI) who deploy and manage ATMs across the country, in the investigation of allegations of fraud made against them by banks, and subsequently filed criminal complaints against Logicash for the misappropriation of funds that were supposed to be deposited in the ATM machines.
  • Supported Essilor in a criminal case against them for breach of trust, forgery, and criminal conspiracy registered by the police. This included quashing of the FIR filed against Essilor’s directors and employees and appearing before the Rajasthan High Court at Jaipur in the quashing petitions which are currently pending.

IndusLaw

IndusLaw’s stand-alone anti-bribery and anti-corruption practice handles a breadth of cross-border investigations in every stage of the legal process. Co-heads Amit Jajoo and Sushmita Gandhi are experienced in representing corporate, multinational, and high net-worth clients before different judicial bodies across the country in complex civil and commercial litigation and criminal matters. Avik Biswas who co-leads the team brings his in-depth know-how of internal corporate structures, demonstrated in the recent re-designing of an entire anti-bribery compliance structure for a major Indian corporation. Padmaja Kaul, Kartik Ganapathy, and Sowmya Kumar also co-lead the team and were joined by Vaibhav Bhardwaj from Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co in May 2021.

Practice head(s):

Avik Biswas; Amit Jajoo; Padmaja Kaul; Kartik Ganapathy; Sushmita Gandhi; Sowmya Kumar; Vaibhav Bhardwaj

Key clients

Fujitsu

DBS Bank

Swiggy India

NEC Corporation

AirBNB

Gates Corporation

Big Basket

Urban Company

Nielsen India

ICICI Lombard

Work highlights

  • Advised Swiggy India in the restructuring of its entire existing Anti-Bribery compliance structure and devised a system to train every employee in the area.
  • Defended DBS Bank in Criminal proceedings initiated by Religare relating to the appropriation of fixed deposits of USD 7.50 million (approx.) before the Economic Offences Wing, Delhi. The matter pertains to the loans availed from Lakshmi Vilas Bank by RHC Holdings Pvt. Ltd. and Ranchem Pvt. Ltd. against the security over fixed deposits of USD 98 million of Religare, while the Religare Group was managed and controlled by the Singh brothers.
  • Conducted training for all employees of NEC Corporation’s Indian subsidiary and covered their Global ABAC and Code of Conduct along with relevant provisions of The Prevention of Corruption Act, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, as well as the UK Bribery Act. We were also instrumental in developing an online training module that was mandatory for each employee to go through as part of NEC’s compliance drive.

Majmudar & Partners

Neerav Merchant leads the anti-corruption and law advisory team at Majmudar & Partners, offering the team’s domestic and international client base his 25 years of experience as a litigator and arbitration expert. The group covers technology, manufacturing, and financial service sectors, with strong investigative expertise in financial misconduct. It works closely with the firm’s Corporate/M&A, and Dispute Resolution teams in highly confidential investigations. The team regularly advises on anti-corruption and anti-bribery compliance, including issues in relation to the US FCPA and the UK Bribery Act.

Practice head(s):

Neerav Merchant

Veritas Legal

Veritas Legal’s white-collar team is well-positioned to accommodate its internationally based client roster. Practice head Rahul Dwarkadas is experienced in a range of white-collar disputes, with his team being increasingly involved in complex, high-profile investigations pertaining to fraud, corruption, and collusion. The team’s work which covers a broad spectrum of industries including media, pharmaceutical, real estate, corporate and banking, and employment, has gained recognition in the past few years, for its involvement in landmark judgments and highly publicised cases. Managing partner Abhijit Joshi works closely with Dwarkadas on such cases including the Deloitte-ILFS litigation, in which recently promoted partner Prachi Dhanani was also part of the team.

Practice head(s):

Rahul Dwarkadas

Other key lawyers:

Abhijit Joshi; Prachi Dhanani

Testimonials

‘We received hands-on advice tailored to our needs and backed by practical market experience with key stakeholders in business and administration. The team is very solution-oriented and able to reduce complexity in seemingly complex matters substantially.’

‘Rahul Dwarkadas does not shy away from giving on-the-spot ready-to-use and reliable advice. He enables decision-making by always having the right arguments to support.’

Key clients

Hunstman International (India) Private Limited

Armstrong India

Pfizer India Limited

Central Depository Services Limited

Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL)

M/s Airplaza Retail Holding Pvt. Ltd.

ICICI Bank Limited

Deloitte Haskins & Sells LLP

Work highlights

  • Represented and advised ICICI Bank Limited in a writ petition filed against it by its former Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Chanda Deepak Kochhar before a Division Bench of the Hon’ble Bombay High Court.
  • Represented Deloitte Haskins & Sells LLP before several different judicial and/or quasi-judicial bodies in challenging the validity of the direction issued by the Government of India sanctioning prosecution and initiation of various proceedings against the client in relation to the audit performed by it for IL&FS Financial Services Ltd., a subsidiary of IL&FS as well as an attempt by the National Financing Reporting Authority (NFRA) to levy penalty on the firm including debarment in addition to a constitutional challenge to the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013 dealing with the powers of NFRA itself.
  • Represented the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) before the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation in relation to a complaint against MIAL and the promoters of GVK Group, who run the International Airport in Mumbai for investigation of fraud and misappropriation charges levied against them.

AP & Partners

AP & Partners is relatively new to this area, offering its corporate and financial-based clientele support in white-collar criminal investigations, as well as regulatory advice. Founder and co-head Anand Prasad regularly assists in corporate and M&A disputes, including those pertaining to bankruptcy, and is well acquainted with government licensing policy which benefits his clients in the telecom industry. Co-head Sandeep Daas is experienced working on complex financial disputes, including corporate fraud cases before the enforcement directorate and several other investigative agencies as well as the Indian Supreme Court.

Practice head(s):

Anand Prasad; Sandeep Das

Key clients

Mr. Sanjiv Rai

M Sivasankar

SMS Ltd.

Former Co-founder of mCarbon Tech Innovations Pvt. Ltd

Work highlights

  • Represented M Sivasankar in the Gold Smuggling Case before the enforcement directorate.
  • Advised Sanjeev Rai, former MD and CEO of ILFS Rail Ltd., a subsidiary of ILFS Ltd., in the fraud scam being investigated by the SFIO, EOW, and Delhi Police, valued at approximately USD 12.16 billion.

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas

At Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, managing partner Cyril Shroff in Mumbai, leads the practice with disputes expert, Gauri Rasgotra. Other key names in the practice include disputes expert Indranil Deshmukh and head of international arbitration, Shaneen Parikh. The white-collar crime and investigations team advises and represents many of the leading financial institutions, national and international global corporations, as well as senior executives in a wide range of  criminal and regulatory matters and internal and government agency investigations.

Practice head(s):

Cyril Shroff; Gauri Rasgotra

Other key lawyers:

Indranil Deshmukh; Shaneen Parikh

Vertices Partners

Vertices Partners is a niche, service-oriented law firm with a specialisation in commercial disputes and white-collar crime. The dispute resolution team headed by Vinayak Burman and Amit Vyas regularly represents clients before investigative agencies in India, including the Economic Offences Wing, CBI, and Enforcement Directorate. In addition, its partners have extensive experience with many Indian judicial authorities, including the Supreme Court.

Practice head(s):

Vinayak Burman; Amit Vyas

Key clients

Koinonia Coffee Private Limited

Milestone Real Estate Fund

Flipspaces Technology Labs Private Limited

Shivam Parivar Developers Private Limited

Goquest Media Ventures Private Limited

Aditya Birla Finance Limited

Mehta Equities Limited

GoQii Technologies Private Limited

Abita Innovations Private Limited

Giovanni Brancasi

Work highlights