Chapter 5: The Good, The Bad, and The Kerkars

The Cox and Kings story is incomplete without the story of ABM Good. The Kerkars and Good were very much hand in glove with each other in looting Cox and Kings. When the Grindlays Bank which owned Cox and Kings had to sell the business due to banking regulations in the UK, ABM Good, who was an employee of the bank, bought a 50 per cent stake in Cox and Kings. Later in the 1980s, he got into a partnership with the Kerkars when Senior Kerkar bought a 50 per cent stake in Cox and Kings by cheating Indian Hotels.

In 2006, Raima – the Panama entity – and Good brought 50 per cent stake each in Cox and Kings as a result of a swap of shares. Throughout its journey as a listed company, Good 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. And he was paid handsomely by the Kerkars for playing ball in looting the banks and equity investors for over 15 years.

In 2007, Good again swapped his shares in Cox and Kings UK with Cox and Kings to gain additional shareholding in the latter.

Just before Cox and Kings’ IPO, in June 2005, Mr Good was allowed to buy 700,000 shares of the company at a price of a mere INR 50 per share. He then sold these shares at INR 597 per share to funds managed by Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, and Deutsche Securities; making a handsome profit of INR 38.3 Cr. One may wonder why these big names did not invite FEMA’s attraction even as the Kerkars were on the other side of the transaction. Anyway, Mr Good made a huge profit and Cox and Kings’ shareholder register looked peachy with the addition of such big names, just before it went public.

Meanwhile, Cox and Kings shored up enormous resources through capital-raising methods; it raised INR 500 Cr through the IPO in 2009, INR 300 Cr through a GDR in 2010 and INR 1000 Cr through a QIP in 2014. With a hefty purse to let loose, PK hatched his next big move – to buy Holidaybreak (HBR), an education, activity and leisure travel group based in the UK, with a presence all over the UK and Europe. However, there was one major roadblock to PK’s plan – Holidaybreak was a much bigger company than Cox and Kings and PK needed more capital to buy it. With Senior Kerkar’s rap still afresh in the country’s memory, no public sector bank was willing to finance PK’s adventure, but he had other plans.

Mr Good’s exploits, too, don’t end there; nearly a decade after, he received another payout. This time, he sold 3.4 million shares that belonged to him at INR 230 per share and made a cool $13 million at the prevailing exchange rate. Thus, Mr Good made a profit of over $22 million by acting as a rubber stamp chairman of Cox and Kings, and by turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to the frauds committed by the Kerkars. But nobody knows where the money went and neither is anybody asking what happened to the money nor who benefitted from all these suspicious transactions. Following just the money trail would be enough to bring out the scope of the fraud committed by the Kerkars and Good. As you read this blog, PK is sitting in his jail cell plotting his way out of the mess he created while his lawyers are running amok to save him. And the investigators are turning the sky upside down to crack the mystery behind numerous circuitous transactions. Meanwhile, the enigmatic Mr.Good continues to roam free in the shadows.

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