Chapter 4: Crime pays the Kubers

The IPO of Cox and Kings made the Kerkars handsomely rich, albeit through crafty corporate manoeuvres. Remember Raima Inc, the Panama firm controlled by the Kerkars? It acquired 11 per cent stake in Cox and Kings through a stock swap (a stock swap is where two companies sell their stakes to one another).

Raima Inc then went on to sell its stake in Cox and Kings to a Mauritius-based company owned by Peter Kerkar named ‘Kuber’. In this sale, Raima Inc made a $30 million profit by selling shares. This way, the Kerkars managed to sweep in millions through a network of front companies in offshore tax havens, all the while keeping Raima Inc safely under the radar. Decades after, today, we don’t know where the money went.

Law enforcement agencies are yet to uncover the trail of the money but they know that it made a lot of people rich; and the rich, even richer. Among them was ABM Good, a man who served on the boards of multiple companies with Peter Kerkar, and a close confidante of the Kerkars for more than 40 years. Good got into partnership with the Kerkars during the 1980s when he was an employee of the Grindlays bank in India.

He was a shareholder of Cox and Kings in the 80s and a 50% shareholder of Cox and Kings UK – from the initial days when Grindlays sold the business to Good and Indian Hotels (which was then under the chairmanship of Senior Kerkar). In 2007, Good swapped his shares in Cox and Kings UK with Cox and Kings to gain additional shareholding in the latter.

Throughout its journey as a listed company, Good also remained as the Executive Chairman of Cox and Kings, painting a rosy picture to shareholders and investors while turning a blind eye to the misdeeds of the Kekars. How Good and the Kerkars took their partners, the taxpayer, and state-owned Indian banks for a ride is a story for another day.

More tomorrow.

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