The London-based Indian billionaire who shared prison time with the ‘bikini killer’

IANS

  • The Indian billionaire Rajendra Singh Sethia was declared innocent just last month after 34 years of fight.
  • His ₹7.5 billion business empire collapsed in 30 months.
  • Sethia once owned, a luxurious limousine, a fleet of ships, several casinos and trading companies struggled to gather ₹1 million to get him bailed.
The Indian billionaire Rajendra Singh Sethia -- who made international headlines for carrying out the "world's biggest bankruptcy" -- was declared innocent just last month after 34 years of fight.

His ₹7.5 billion business empire collapsed in 30 months. Sethia once owned, a luxurious limousine, a fleet of ships, several casinos and trading companies struggled to gather ₹1 million to get him bailed. Three Indian banks led by Punjab National Bank and the creditors were after his life for recovering $150 million after the dissolution of Esal Commodities.

However, the court cleared his name as an accused after the prosecution failed to prove charges of fraud against him.

(with IANS)
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London-based Rajendra Singh Sethia founded his company Esal Commodities in London in 1977 and the company earned a profit of ₹10 million just a year

London-based Rajendra Singh Sethia founded his company Esal Commodities in London in 1977 and the company earned a profit of ₹10 million just a year

London-based Rajendra Singh Sethia founded his company Esal Commodities in London in 1977 and the company earned a profit of ₹10 million just a year later through selling sugar, tea and shipping. He managed to grow his company's turnover to ₹1 billion in 1981. And turnover crossed ₹6 million in 1983, the bank loans also rose to ₹1 billion.

​Sethia turned ₹10 million profitable business to ₹6 billion business in five years (1977-1983)

​Sethia turned ₹10 million profitable business to ₹6 billion business in five years (1977-1983)

Sethia — who was 37 year old in 1981 — turned ₹10 million profitable business to ₹6 billion business in five years (1977-1983). But as soon as his business started souring, it became impossible to service the huge pile of debt. At one point , loans from banks in Nigeria accounted for 40% of his business.

He fled from the UK to Spain and later to the US and other western countries to avail the money against colossal debt pile.


A hearing in London Court ordered to dissolve the Esal Commodities following a rescue plan approved by the Reserve Bank of India and the creditors in 1983. Now, at the age of 72, Sethia has been acquitted of the charges.

He reportedly spent significant time with the Serpent Charles Sobhraj aka 'bikini killer' in Tihar Jail

He reportedly spent significant time with the Serpent Charles Sobhraj aka 'bikini killer' in Tihar Jail

The Central Bureau of Investigation caught Sethia in India in 1987 for possessing a false passport. He was sent to prison in India's notorious Tihar Jail where he spent significant time with the Serpent Charles Sobhraj aka 'bikini killer'.

CBI alleged that Sethia had cheated the Central Bank of India with Nigerian National Supply Corporation by obtaining loans based on forged papers.


Sethia was accused of helping the dreaded Sobhraj escape from prison, and was put back in jail just a week before his release in the Punjab National Bank case

Interestingly, the banks he was accused of defrauding did not file any case against him.

Interestingly, the banks he was accused of defrauding did not file any case against him.

"My 34 years have been wasted in trial. But I am happy to get justice from the court. Justice delayed is better than never, Sethia told IANS soon after he was granted bail.

In 2004, Rajendra Singh Sethia came back into business with his global trading firm Continental Sales Emporium that imports foreign liquor and cigarettes.

Credits: IANS

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