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Pramod Goenka; (left) Vinod Goenka
Pramod Goenka went missing in Mozambique in February 2018; despite several agencies probing the matter, his brother says no headway has been made in the case.
A year after his younger brother Pramod went missing during a business trip to Mozambique, DB Realty chairman and managing director Vinod Goenka said on Monday that there is no clear information about his whereabouts. He added that his family has been pursuing it at various levels including Mumbai Police, the Indian High Commission in Mozambique and the Ministry of External Affairs. Pramod went missing in the African nation on February 18, 2018.
“The Mumbai Police is investigating the missing complaint. It is also being investigated by the Indian High Commission in Mozambique and the Ministry of External Affairs. I have been personally in touch at the highest levels pursuing this, but so far there is not much input shared by them. CBI’s equivalent agency in Mozambique is also looking into it,” Goenka told Mumbai Mirror.
Pramod, 53, went missing hours after landing at Maputo international airport in Mozambique on February 18, 2018. According to the complaint lodged by Pramod’s son Yash Goenka at Sahar police station, Pramod, who had a jewellery business, had gone to Maputo to meet a diamond trader identified only as ‘Kothari’. Both businessmen went missing after the meeting, the complaint said.
The complaint was lodged after Pramod’s family and friends received some photographs sent from his mobile phone showing him in captivity. Since kidnappings of expats for ransom have been reported in Mozambique in the past, the police initially suspected it to be a kidnapping for ransom from local gangs. “There have been no calls from Pramod nor has any ransom call been received yet by the family,” said Vinod.
The mystery of Pramod Goenka’s disappearance was rekindled by some tweets from his friend and actress Suchitra Krishnamoorthi. In her posts, which have since been deleted, she alleged that NCP leader Ajit Pawar had links with his disappearance over a business dispute.
Asked about her tweets, Vinod said the tweets were “unethical and incorrect”. He said two months ago, Krishnamoorthi had telephoned him, wanting to meet him regarding Pramod’s disappearance. “I thought she had some information about my brother, and agreed to meet her in my office. She started asking how the family is pursuing the matter. I explained the various steps we have taken. Thereafter she goes and tweets like this,” said Vinod.
The DB Realty founder said he had sent Krishnamoorthi a legal notice demanding that she immediately withdraw her tweets and tender an apology for the insinuations she made.
“Looks like better sense has prevailed and she has deleted those tweets, but she has to apologise. Otherwise, I will file a police complaint against her,” Goenka said.
The Goenkas have had family relations with the Pawar family dating back to Baramati where the Goenka family owns and operates the Schreiber Dynamix Dairies Ltd. “My father and Sharad Pawar were friends and we know the Pawar family for years, but we never had any business dealings with the Pawar family members,” Goenka said. Asked if his brother had debts related to his business, Goenka said “I am not aware if he owed money to anyone as he was not in touch with the family.”
Asked about Krishnamoorthi’s allegations against him, senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar said, “I don’t know who this Suchitra Krishnamoorthi is and why she tweeted against me. My only advice to her is that if she has information against me, she should go to the nearest police station and lodge a complaint. But I find her tweets extremely offensive and defamatory. My lawyers have sent her a legal notice,” he added.
By Satish Nandgaonkar