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Raj Kundra – Son of a bus conductor and now a business baron

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raj kundra
Raj Kundra | File Photo

Raj Kundra, a London born middle class boy whose father was a migrant from Ludhiana and worked as a bus conductor, later started a business which was on a way smaller level. Raj was not much keen on studies and he left his studies at the age of 18. His father, Bal Krishan Kundra was a small-time businessman and his mother worked as a shop helper.

Raj Kundra’s journey to success has been quite remarkable, more so because unlike many other rich businessmen, Raj Kundra did not inherit his wealth. He had a humble beginning, but through his hard work and innovation he managed to create a mark in the global business circles.

At the age of 18, Kundra left home for Dubai further went to Nepal and started a business of pashmina shawls and sold them to all major fashion houses in Britain and made his first millions. In 2004, SUCCESS magazine ranked him as the 198th richest British Asian.

Kundra made his first millions through his first business of import. He used to import the now famous Pashmina shawls from Nepal by container load, and distribute them to all the prominent fashion houses in London. This venture was a success, and this is how his journey towards success began.

In 2007 he moved to Dubai and set up Essential General Trading LLC a company dealing in precious metals, construction, mining and green renewable energy projects. He was also at that time involved in the financing and production of Bollywood films. He was ranked as the 198th richest British Asian by Success (magazine).

In 2009, Kundra and Shetty invested in the Indian Premier League cricket team Rajasthan Royals using an offshore company based in Mauritius. The legality of the investment was questioned by departments of the Government of India. In June 2013, Kundra was questioned by Delhi Police with regard to the 2013 Indian Premier League spot-fixing case, which had involved the arrest of some Rajasthan Royals players, further Delhi police have given a clean chit to Kundra in reply on right to information (RTI).

In July 2015 a panel appointed by the Supreme Court of India imposed a life ban from cricket-related activity on him. Further, Kundra denied the involvement and appealed to the Supreme Court of India. Umesh Goenka a business partner of Raj Kundra claimed in a court that he was forced to name him in betting by Delhi Police and to save himself from physical torture and from being booked under MCOCA Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.

In 2015, Kundra was among the promoters of online and television broadcast platform Best Deal TV, an Indian television home shopping channel capitalising on celebrity endorsements. His co-promoter was Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar.

His idea of Pashmina Shawl changed his life and his business ideas. A British Indian businessman, Raj Kundra is one of the richest British Asians today. His net worth is estimated at about $400 million, which is equivalent to INR Rs. 2500 crores. In addition to this, recent data shows that he also has steady earnings of about $100 million a year.

It is only natural to wonder as to from where does Raj Kundra get so much money. But the answer is very simple: He has earned so much money due to the diversified investments in various industrial sectors, as well as through his own innovation with respect to business verticals.

Since then, Raj Kundra has invested in various industries. A major portion of his investments has been in the Bollywood movies and sports industry, but his company Viaan Industries is focusing more on the online gaming sector right now.

The ED had summoned Raj Kundra, in connection with its money laundering probe against late gangster Iqbal Mirchi and others. They said Kundra has been asked to depose before the investigating officer of the case here on November 4 and his statement is expected to be recorded once he appears.

The agency is expected to record his statement under the anti-money laundering law. The proceedings in the case are being conducted under the criminal provision of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The central probe agency is looking at Kundra’s purported dealings with Ranjeet Bindra and a firm called Bastian Hospitality in connection with this case.

Some business dealings between the two need detailed information and hence the summons, they said. Bindra has been arrested by the agency in this case sometime back. He was grilled by the agency last year in connection with a bitcoin scam case. Mirchi, who died in 2013 in London, was alleged to be the right hand man of global terrorist Dawood Ibrahim in drug trafficking and extortion crimes.

The PMLA case is based on multiple Mumbai Police FIRs and the ED has conducted multiple raids in this case over the last few months. On 19 July 2021, the property cell of the Mumbai Crime Branch arrested Raj Kundra after questioning him regarding the busted case, registered at the Malwani police station in suburban Mumbai in February 2021, for being the key conspirator in creating and distributing pornographic content through mobile applications and websites. Mumbai Police Commissioner Hemant Nagrale claimed they have sufficient evidence regarding this case.

According to Mumbai Police, Raj Kundra had invested around Rs 8 to Rs 10 crores in this porn industry. Raj Kundra and his brother living in Britain together formed a company, named Kenrin. The videos were shot in India and were then transferred to the UK via WeTransfer to Kenrin, a UK Based firm.

The police have arrested a total of 12 accused in this case, including Kundra. One of the accused from Vashi, Navi Mumbai, Umesh Kamat was earlier arrested by a property cell. Kamat claimed that he used to work in the company of Kundra and as a coordinator in Kenrin. Police also claimed, Kamat during the interrogation told that he used to take obscene videos from model and actress Gehana Vasisth and forward those videos to Kenrin that later used to upload them on an app called ‘hotshots’.

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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