Mahatma Gandhi’s Great-Granddaughter Jailed For Fraud & Forgery

Mahatma Gandhi’s great-granddaughter Ashish Lata Ramgobin has been sentenced to seven years in prison by a South African court.

The Durban Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Monday found Lata Ramgobin guilty of a 6-million rand fraud and forgery case. The 56-year-old has been refused leave to appeal the conviction and sentence by the court, local media reported.

The charge against Lata Ramgobin, daughter of rights activists Ela Gandhi and late Mewa Ramgobind, was that of defrauding businessman SR Maharaj after he sent her Rs 3.3 crore (6.2 million rand) for allegedly clearing import and customs duties for a non-existent consignment from India.

New Africa Alliance Footwear Distributors owner Maharaj, who met Lata Ramgobin in August 2015, was promised a percentage of the profit from the fake consignment deal.

Ramgobin used forged invoices and documents to convince investors that three containers of linen were being shipped from India.

Ramgobin’s trial in the fraud and forgery case started in 2015. She was granted bail on a bond of Rs 2.68 lakh (50,000 rand).

A spokesperson for National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) of South Africa told the media that Ramgobin was “experiencing financial difficulties to pay for import costs and customs and she needed the money to clear the goods at the harbour.”

“To convince him, she showed him what she claimed was a signed purchase order for the goods. Later that month, she sent him what seemed to be a NetCare (healthcare provider in South Africa) invoice and delivery note as proof that the goods were delivered and payment was imminent,” spokesperson Natasha Kara said.

“Ramgobin sent him confirmation from NetCare’s bank account that payment had been made. Thereafter, Maharaj signed a written agreement with Ramgobin for a loan.

When Maharaj found out about the forgery and fake documents, she laid criminal charges on Ramgobin.

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