The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has finally declared a British citizen of Indian descent, Deepak Khilnani, wanted after failing to appear in Court to respond to charges of several counts on alleged conspiracy, fraud, stealing and money laundering.
To this end, the EFCC in suit number FHC/L/588/2022 filed in the Federal High Court, Ikoyi on October 18, 2022 the EFCC charged Khilnani and a company in which he allegedly has stake with: “Conspiracy to alter and file at Corporate Affairs Commission, Abuja fraudulent resolution on allotment of Shares…”
In addition, the charges included “forgery of the signatures of (names withheld) contained on a Take Over Certificate with intent that it may be acted upon as Genuine”.
EFCC claimed that Khilnani had been under its since 2017, during which time the 63 year-old businessman attempted different ways to avoid investigation and arraignment.
It was gathered that the alleged fugitive jumped administrative bail, subsequently left for the UK and failed to honour the anti-graft agency several invitations
Following this, EFCC placed Khilnani on its watchlist at all Nigerian ports of entry. He was said to have returned in January 2018, hence, was arrested and detained at Lagos Murtala Mohammed Airport and handed over to the authorities.
Details about his many crimes indicate that in May 2019, Khilnani deposited a British bank cheque for £4,620,000 at the EFCC Ikoyi Zonal office.
The cheque was payable to his former employers and was believed to be part of refund of the money he allegedly stole.
However, the cheque bounced as it was not honoured by the British bank.
Similarly, in December of the same year, shortly after the UK cheque saga, Khilnani’s lawyers prosecuted his former employers and the EFCC to court in a civil Suit No. FHC/L/CS/2266/2019 where they sought “An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 4th Defendant (EFCC) from further Mediation, or inviting the Plaintiffs (Khilnani and or), or questioning the Plaintiffs, or instituting any Charge against the Plaintiffs…”
Still, EFCC investigated the alleged crime and the case was eventually struck out in February 2022 due to the court’s lack of jurisdiction.
In October 2022 – five years after investigation and legal tussle, that the EFCC charged Khilnani to court for financial crimes.
When he declined the Court summons and appeared in court, the EFCC in March 2023 obtained the Court’s Order and declared Khilnani wanted.
This was order was published in the Punch Newspaper, May 17, 2023 edition as well as on the EFCC website.
The intriguing aspects of the alleged escapee are, one: to what extent would Khilnani’s prosecution go in the country if eventually caught and second, would any support from his homeland, UK pleading for clemency, especially that his case comes for hearing in July 2023.