Great Granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi jailed for 7 years in South Africa

The Great-granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, Ashish Lata Ramgobin, has been jailed for seven years in a case in South Africa. The 56-year-old was sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment by a Durban court after she was found guilty in a six-million rand (Rs 3.22 crore) fraud and forgery case.

As reported, the granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi Ashish Lata Ramgobin was accused of defrauding a businessman named SR Maharaj after he advanced R6.2 million to her for allegedly clearing imports and Customs duties for a non-existent consignment from India. Sources also said that SR Maharaj was promised a share of profits.

Daughter of noted rights activists Ela Gandhi and late Mewa Ramgobind, Ashish Lata Ramgobin was refused leave to appeal both the conviction and the sentence by the Durban Specialised Commercial Crime Court.

Report further said that Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), during the trial had said that Lata Ramgobin allegedly provided forged invoices and documents to convince investors stating that three containers of linen which were being shipped in from India.

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As per sources, Lata Ramgobin was released on a bail of 50,000 rand at that time. Moreover, Lata Ramgobin had met Director of the New Africa Alliance Footwear Distributors, SR Maharaj in August 2015. His company imports and manufactures and sells clothing, linen and footwear, and also provides finance to other companies on a profit-share basis.

“Lata Ramgobin said she was experiencing financial difficulties to pay for import costs and customs and she needed the money to clear the goods at the harbor”, said NPA spokesperson Natasha Kara.

The spokesperson further added, “She told him [Maharaj] that she needed R6.2 million. 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 invoice and delivery note as proof that the goods were delivered and payment was imminent. Lata Ramgobin further sent him confirmation from NetCare’s bank account that payment had been made.”

SR Maharaj laid criminal charges on Lata Ramgobin upon finding that the documents were forged.

Ramgobin, who was the great grand-daughter of Gandhiji, was the founder and executive director of the Participative Development Initiative at the NGO International Centre for Non-Violence. She described herself as “an activist with a focus on environmental, societal and political interests” in the NGO.

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