Indian businessman Pramod Mittal was arrested on Wednesday in northern Bosnia in connection with an investigation into alleged financial crimes in the country.
By Mladen Lakic
The Prosecutor’s Office in the Canton of Tuzla, one out of ten units in Bosnia’s Federation entity, on Thursday said the younger brother of Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal had been arrested in connection with reports that up to 11 million euros had been withdrawn from the country in a suspicious way and deposited in a company that he owned.
Pramod Mittal is head of the supervisory board of the metallurgical coke producer Global Ispat Koksna Industrija Lukavac, GIKIL, one of the larger exporters in the country.
The investigation currently covers six people, four foreigners and two citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, N1 regional TV station reported.
“We believe that from 2006, through so-called management contracts, up to 11 million euros were withdrawn in cash up to 2015, which we consider were paid out in undefined circumstances,” Cazim Serhatlic, the Prosecutor of Tuzla Canton, told the media.
Serhatlic said that along with Mittal, GIKIL’s General Manager, Paramesh Bhattacharyy, and Razib Dash, a supervisory board member, were also detained on Wednesday, on suspicion of having committed organised crime and abused their office and authority. The company’s management has not commented yet on the reports.
In January, the Municipal Court in the north-western town of Lukavac confirmed an indictment against Debasish Ganguly, former head of GIKIL, on charges of environmental pollution. Ganguly was dismissed from his post in the company and left the country before the charges against him were confirmed, media reported in January.
The Tuzla Prosecution Office said GIKIL had failed to implement a recommendation from the Federation entity Environment Ministry to invest 55 million euros in environmental protection measures from 2012 to 2017, curbing harmful emissions from the plant.
GIKIL is a partnership between Global Steel Holdings, GSHL, and Coke and Chemical Conglomerate [Koksno-hemijski kombinat, KHK], owned by the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina and established in 2003.
GIKIL is known as the leading metallurgical coke producer in Bosnia and the region, and employs more than 1,000 people, according to its website.
Arcelor Mittal Zenica, based in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, is an investment of the global Arcelor Mittal concern, formed when the company bought the ironworks at Zenica in 2007.