An Indian man who was accused of defrauding a British Indian businessman out of millions of pounds in a real estate scam has been found hanged inside his luxury Mumbai apartment.
Pavan Kulavoor, 38, was implicated in the £2.3 million scam alongside his sister Neishaa Gharat – a prominent British Indian fashion designer and socialite – and her husband Pritam, a London-based dentist.
Kulavoor had been arrested in August 2016 and was out on bail when his badly decomposed body was found inside his apartment in the Oshiwara area of Mumbai on 20th April.
Neishaa Gharat was arrested over the same scam after flying into New Delhi in January this year and had been held in prison in Mumbai since. She was released on bail this weekend.
Pavan and Neishaa Gharat – along with Pretam Gharat – are accused of swindling more than £2.3 million pounds from Harrow-based business tycoon Rajesh Tailor over a 7-year period.
Kulavoor is said to have offered exorbitant returns on property investments made by Mr Tailor in Mumbai and elsewhere in India. The money however, disappeared.
The fraud is said to have extended to the UK where Neishaa and Pritam – busy regulars in the Diaspora social scene in Britain – are accused of using Mr Tailor’s money to fund their flamboyant lifestyle.
According to Mr Tailor’s legal team, Kulavoor and Mr Tailor had been in the midst of a negotiated settlement mediated by Kulavoor’s father Satish when he took his own life.
The Tailor’s were introduced to Kulavoor and the Gharats in 2006 – the two families are distantly related. Pavan Kulavoor described himself as a “property tycoon” who ran owned commercial real estate and hotels in India.
Soon after the introduction Pavan had begun urging Mr Tailor – who had run a successful electronics business in northwest London – to invest in property in India.
As the friendship grew, in 2008, Neishaa and Pretam visited London ahead of moving to the UK permanently, staying with the Tailors.
Among the “projects” was a simple “buy and flip” deal on a plot of prime land in Mumbai. Pavan is said to have taken Mr Tailor to the property in 2008 on a “scouting mission”, showing paperwork that apparently confirmed that the property belonged to him. Mr Tailor eventually bought the plot of land, transferring the money to Pavan.
In September 2014, when Mr Tailor travelled to Mumbai to claim back some of money or the land, he claims Pavan had paid off people in the vicinity of the plot whilst Mr Tailor took a prospective buyer to see the land with Pavan and promised to pay him some money in December 2014.
In January 2015, after a series of events that set alarm bells ringing, when Mr Tailor travelled to Mumbai to get his money back or claim the land for himself, Pavan had vanished while his family were stonewalling.
Neisha and Pretam Gharat still face charges of fraud under Section 467 of the Indian Penal Code.