Bosnian court orders one-month detention for steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal's younger brother Pramod

A court in Bosnia on Thursday ordered one-month detention for Indian businessman Pramod Mittal and two other officials who have been suspected of involvement with organised crime and abuse of office at a Bosnian coke plant, regional television reported, Reuters said.

The case is related to the running of a coking plant in the northeastern town of Lukavac, which Pramod Mittal has co-managed since 2003, an AFP report said on Thursday. An arrest warrant has been issued for a fourth man "considered to be a member of this organised criminal group with Pramod Mittal on top", the report said.

Mittal, younger brother of steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, heads the supervisory board and co-owns metallurgical coke producer Global Ispat Koksna Industrija Lukavac (GIKIL) in northern Bosnia, one of the country’s biggest exporters.

According to the Zurnal.info website which covers organised crime, the suspects were believed to have embezzled "at least five million marks" (2.5 million euros, $2.8 million), AFP reported.

Mittal has been held in police custody since Tuesday, along with GIKIL’s general manager, Paramesh Bhattacharyya, and supervisory board member Razib Dash, Reuters said.

Prosecutor Camil Serhatlic told Reuters that Mittal and the other two executives invoked their right to remain silent during the questioning in the town of Tuzla, and that the prosecution asked the Tuzla cantonal court for their detention.

 Bosnian court orders one-month detention for steel magnate Lakshmi Mittals younger brother Pramod

File image of Pramod Mittal. Reuters

Regional television in Bosnia’s Bosniak-Croat Federation reported that the court then ordered a one-month detention for the trio.

Neither the men nor their lawyers were immediately reachable for comment.

A spokeswoman for GIKIL told Reuters she was not officially notified about the court’s order, which occurred during evening hours on Thursday.

Police said they seized documentation, computers and cell phones during a raid at GIKIL on Tuesday.

GIKIL union members said on Thursday the plant’s operation was not interrupted.

GIKIL, with around 1,000 employees in the town of Lukavac, is jointly run by Dubai-based Global Steel Holdings Ltd (GSH) and local government-owned KHK since 2003.

Last year, Bosnian police briefly detained GIKIL’s then-general manager over environmental negligence. He fled Bosnia just before the indictment against him was confirmed in early in 2019, the prosecutors said.

Pramod Mittal owns several companies in the Balkans.

Lakshmi Mital, the CEO of global steel giant ArcelorMittal, has bailed out his cash-strapped brother Pramod in India clear dues he owed to State Trading Corporation, helping avoid legal troubles.

Pramod Mittal, the owner of Global Steel Holdings, thanked his elder brother's generosity in helping him clear a significant portion of Rs 2,210 crore dues. "I am very grateful to my brother Lakshmi Mittal for helping settle the liabilities to State Trading Corporation of India. This generosity ensured compliance with the order from the Supreme Court," he told PTI.

The Mittal brothers had split the business in 1994 with elder brother going on to head the world's largest steel manufacturing company ArcelorMittal. Pramod Mittal's firms Global Steel Holdings Ltd (GSHI) and Global Steel Philippines Inc had defaulted on payments to STC, following which the state-owned company filed various cases against them.

The two firms in a statement said they have settled Rs 2,210 crore dues to STC.

--With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Jul 26, 2019 10:48:01 IST