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CBI raids Cyril Amarchand in Nirav Modi scam probe • CAM co-operates, shares docs with cops

CAM worked for Nirav Modi, now CBI visits its office (photo via Nirav Modi Facebook page)CAM worked for Nirav Modi, now CBI visits its office (photo via Nirav Modi Facebook page)

The Mumbai office of law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM) was raided by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) last week, in connection with the Nirav Modi scam.

Cyril Amarchand is understood to have been instructed by Modi - who has not worked with the firm before - less than a month ago in a matter, before the scam came to light.

We understand that the firm cooperated with the CBI and handed over all documents related to the Modi mandate to the CBI.

The banking-related mandate with Modi is understood to have been terminated by the firm, after the scam came to light on 14 February.

The firm declined to comment when contacted.

Modi is under CBI and enforcement directorate (ED) investigation for a suspected fraud involving state-owned Punjab National Bank, whose officials allegedly advanced fraudulent letters of credit to billionaire Modi’s company causing a loss of up to $1.8bn.

As one lawyer without a horse in this race told us a few days ago, “Nirav would have been a marquee client” to most firms in the past.

For instance, Luthra & Luthra had been instructed by Modi-promoted Firestar Diamond on its plans for initial public offering (IPO) that were first mooted in 2016 until as recently as December 2017, but never came to fruition (in relation to that issue, Khaitan & Co had been briefed by the future issues’s managers Kotak Bank, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch).

And DSK Legal is understood to have worked with Modi’s company in the past on standard corporate transactions and deals.

Besides being a billionaire client, he would also have been a respected acquaintance in legal socialite circles: Luthra & Luthra managing partners Rajiv Luthra and Karanjawala & Co managing partner Raian Karanjawala, for instance, were both mentioned by name in Nirav Modi's press release about the launch of its Delhi flagship store in 2014.

After the scam broke, advocate Vijay Agarwal has apparently been representing the fugitive Modi, to borrow Arnab Goswami's words.

It is understood from sources that Bombay high court senior advocate Amit Desai may also have been instructed.

This story was first published this morning exclusively for our paid subscribers. In order to be ahead of the curve next time and hear breaking news before anyone else, sign up below.

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By reading the comments you agree that they are the (often anonymous) personal views and opinions of readers, which may be biased and unreliable, and for which Legally India therefore has no liability. If you believe a comment is inappropriate, please click 'Report to LI' below the comment and we will review it as soon as practicable.
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Like +6 Object -3 Guest 26 Feb 18, 13:31
How is it that the raid which was conducted last week is being reported only today, though the unconfirmed reports of the same have been doing the rounds since last week. Is it at the instance of the firm that the media houses including LI and bar and bench abstained from reporting the same in order to allow the firm to spin a face-saving narrative?
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Like +8 Object -10 kianganz 26 Feb 18, 13:35  controversial
Because there is a difference between 'unconfirmed reports' and actually confirming a story and writing it up, which takes time (or not so much, when copy-pasting it in the case of B&B ;).

Also, while it may seem that the whole world would know about something like this, I don't think any mainstream media house had caught wind of it yet - remember, as a lawyer, you would likely hear about lawyerly news way before non-lawyers...

Our media may be deeply broken and useless most days, but I don't think there's a reasonable conspiracy here (so far, in any case).
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Like +21 Object -8 Reply to Kian 26 Feb 18, 15:31  interesting  top rated  controversial
Kian that is just plain simple in bad taste. B&B is far better than you in terms of legal news reportage. They have quality content, unlike masala which you put in almost everything. Too much of condiments is bad for health. You could have written it without referring to B&B.

All you report is inter-firm transfers and basic law firm gossip. So you do not have any locus anyway.
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Like +22 Object -24 kianganz 26 Feb 18, 16:02  controversial
Ok, thank you for your constructive feedback, I shall take your opinion under advisement in re-evaluating LI's future strategy and direction.

But since I care about your health, I hope I would not be overstepping my bounds in suggesting you quickly close the LI tab, particularly the comments section, and go back to B&B or other reading before you get a heart attack from too much excitement.

That said, I think a little dig at a publication in the comments (with a winky emoji) about a rival passing off our scoop as their own without attribution (as they often do) shouldn't be too bad for anyone's health.
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Like +2 Object -2 Reply to Kian 26 Feb 18, 23:53
Kian, that is really sporting of you to publish this and also post a reply.
I am sorry for the harsh words, since I read LI on a regular basis as well. Since you have already called my feedback as constructive, I really wish you do more court reporting. That way you could also add dimension and increase readership. I could help you with your first story. Calcutta High Court is observing cease work for over a week now. Basically a strike to protest the delayed judicial appointments. Great story to cover, it would be.
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Like +3 Object -4 kianganz 27 Feb 18, 00:02
Thanks for your reply - I do sympathise with your request but we have deliberately decided for the time being not to invest significant resources into court reporting.

I went into the metrics in a comment a few days ago (see link), so I won't get into huge detail on that again.

Suffice it to say, I think that strategically it simply does not make much sense right now to focus on the courts on a day-to-day basis. I agree that's regrettable, because I really love covering litigation and all the important and the crazy stuff that happens there, but then again, Live Law and B&B and the newspapers are doing a pretty decent job in the courts already...

Isn't it better to have a media ecosystem that's diverse with different approaches, rather than everyone chasing the same stories and eyeballs?

I am happy to accept LI won't be for everybody, but that's ok. Often when you're trying to satisfy everyone, you end up satisfying no one.

However, I hope to continue to keep things interesting and innovative going forward: we have some cool things in the pipeline.
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Like +1 Object -0 Know more 28 Feb 18, 01:17
Kian you are talking of someone taking off your scoop.

There are cases of people in school stealing our stationary and books. In university even when they can't speak or write one sentence in English,using influence to get 1st rank in law which of course you can't prove against them but people know. So the actual intelligent students lose their 1st rank. In office colleagues steal ideas.

People steal spouses, cash, property, work, patents, peace of mind, peace of body. All kinds of stealing happens. It's sad and its everywhere.

What to do?
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Like +0 Object -1 kianganz 28 Feb 18, 01:21
I don't think it's quite as bad as stealing actually... There is no copyright on facts or information, and information ultimately wants to be free and shouldn't be permanently locked away behind paywalls, etc.

So if another publication re-reports our scoop, that's fair game and good for the overall informational ecosystem. My only gripe is that attribution of a place of where something exclusive was first reported is common professionalism and common courtesy in my book, that's all. :)
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Like +0 Object -1 Know more 28 Feb 18, 12:52
That's what I am saying.
1. People don't have courtsey
2. They steal
3. Such things are everywhere
4. There are worse things than scoop not credited.
5. Chill
6. Enjoy life.

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Like +0 Object -0 kianganz 28 Feb 18, 12:53
Indeed. Peace :)
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Like +7 Object -1 Kyu Kiya Kian 27 Feb 18, 11:31  interesting
Really.. copy pasting done by B&B? When I checked LI page in the morning yesterday, your story was to open for non-subscribers nearly 7 hours later.. i would say B&B capitalized on that and threw up the story on their page.. forcing you to cut short the time of 7 hours later and publish immediately :D

Clearly this round goes to B&B! Its simple.. both of you had the scoop.. but its just better business sense of journalism on B&B part for this story.

Having said that I am a staunch LI fan & the content it carries. Really.. don't wanna read B&B for all that gyaan at the end of a day's work in a lawyers life.
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Like +4 Object -1 kianganz 27 Feb 18, 12:19
Thanks for your comment. I don't have a problem at all with their copy-pasting or spiking our paywalled stories: fair play to them. But I disagree with your definition of scoop and whether attribution where something was published first is the right thing to do. It's certainly the way it works when other titles cite paywalled scoops by the FT, WSJ or others.

A paywalled scoop is still a scoop, so a second rehashing of that story that adds zero new details and doesn't acknowledge the original scoop, is simply bad form journalistically at best, unethical at worst (though pretty much standard practice in the mainstream Indian media ecosystem, where TV channels and TOI would like to pretend no one else exists).

If that's the game B&B want to play, fine, but I will happily call them out on it and point out more consistently ethical rivals such as Live Law :)
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Like +3 Object -14 Guest 26 Feb 18, 13:32
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Like +7 Object -3 Really? 26 Feb 18, 13:43
There are absolutely no parallels here. Your comment is desperate and irresponsible.
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Like +5 Object -0 Chaiwala 26 Feb 18, 13:32  interesting
Was that raid ? Have you got confirmation? Investigating agencies do normal enquires many time and there is big difference in raid and enquires.
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Like +12 Object -8 kianganz 26 Feb 18, 13:39  controversial
When they don't request an appointment and just drop by and request, and then take lots of documents home, then it's fair to call it a raid, no?
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Like +6 Object -3 Chaiwala 26 Feb 18, 13:46
There is clear difference in Search (which is commonly known as Raid) and Survey...
And both are conducted under different section of law.
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Like +10 Object -3 Lolwa 26 Feb 18, 23:57  interesting
Tu pakka Tier 3 employee from Pvt college hai bhai
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Like +0 Object -2 Kya re 26 Feb 18, 15:38
Haha kya answer tha.

Samaj ne wale samaj gaye.

Na samaj ko kya samaj hain.

Keep it going Kian.

An honest bystander to a dishonest transaction.
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Like +3 Object -0 Happy Happy 26 Feb 18, 16:09
LOL. Acche din...
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Like +0 Object -0 curious77 26 Feb 18, 16:13
Did Modi & Co have any in-house counsel and what is their fate now?
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Like +19 Object -5 All hail Kian 26 Feb 18, 16:42  interesting  top rated  controversial
After a boring day in law firms with so much stress around, no one wants the gyaan at Bar and Bench, we just read the basic contents and quickly scroll down to comments section for fun and gossip. Atleast, i don't have so much time for all the content stuff.We want gossip and masala.
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Like +9 Object -3 kianganz 26 Feb 18, 17:53  interesting
Glad to be of service, I think...
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Like +0 Object -0 Ouch 26 Feb 18, 17:52
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Like +4 Object -0 Client 26 Feb 18, 18:24
No attorney - client privilege?
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Like +1 Object -0 Really ? 26 Feb 18, 19:21
Is there attorney client privilege under Indian law ? To my mind it's not absolute And excludes any disclosure if illegal acts were involved.

I am not well versed with us law, but there may be the confidentiality I absolute with no exceptions.

Police would be within their rights to investigate any illegslity. Hence the raid.

If they find any intentional illegality on part of lawyers there's a problem.
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Like +0 Object -1 Wheredidwintergo 28 Feb 18, 06:18
There is no attorney-client privilege when the attorney and the client are both more or less the same. In such cases, for example, where there is justifiably some information that the attorney themselves are the fiduciary beneficiaries as clients themselves and the relationship is more like shadow boxing especially in context with the proceeds of crime then the question of client attorney privilege does not enter into the equation.
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Like +2 Object -0 Capital Market 26 Feb 18, 19:38
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Like +15 Object -0 sCAM 26 Feb 18, 20:00  interesting  top rated
Only 18 comments! What has happened to the world! It's an Amarchand story guys! Let's discuss their business!
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Like +3 Object -3 Farceur 26 Feb 18, 22:03
Why? Which one of them threw you out for poking your nose where it doesn't belong and focussing on gossip over billable work.
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Like +0 Object -0 Guest 04 Mar 18, 14:57
Aww. Don't cry. Did they also take away your stationary?
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Like +17 Object -1 Whats the connection 26 Feb 18, 20:30  interesting  top rated
For a moment I thought that CAM was hired to design Nirav's valentine collection
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Like +3 Object -0 Rooow 26 Feb 18, 22:47
The neighbour sends regards!
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Like +38 Object -0 YouNotes 26 Feb 18, 23:55  interesting  top rated
I heard CBI took pan masala away from someone as evidence!
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Like +3 Object -0 Regards 27 Feb 18, 05:02
Down, down and downfall for CAM. It should have protected itself from such raids.
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Like +6 Object -1 Main hoon hero tera 27 Feb 18, 14:08  interesting
Please tell me which cream to apply in order to avoid raids.
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Like +1 Object -0 My Name is Prince 27 Feb 18, 15:05
Kian what is this jewellery and cream on your website? Sounds like online shopping of cosmetics here.
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Like +23 Object -0 Jewellers 27 Feb 18, 10:00  interesting  top rated
Reading CAM in full, CBI might have thought it was one of the many jewellery outlets associated with N. Modi.
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Like +2 Object -0 CAMster 27 Feb 18, 11:38
CAM's comment seems way too convenient. Out of all the law firms, why would they simply go and raid CAM?
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Like +2 Object -0 NiMo 27 Feb 18, 13:11
Means my details are not safe in hands of this law firm!
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Like +4 Object -0 Lexpert 27 Feb 18, 16:56
Kian, I notice an interesting assertion in B&B's copycat story -

"It is also understood that the firm has never dealt with Nirav Modi or his companies prior to this."

This is followed by - "We attempted to reached out to Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas several times for comment before running this story. However, the firm has declined to comment on the same."

This looks suspect! Almost as if CAM vetted the story for B&B and added a few caveats 'unofficially' - not showing very high journalistic integrity?

What do you think?
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Like +3 Object -1 kianganz 27 Feb 18, 17:04
I can't really comment on that. Suffice it to say, it would have been irresponsible for them to publish the story without trying to reach out to CAM.

I also heard from sources (as we had included in our story) that NiMo was not a regular client of the firm, but whether CAM has never ever dealt with him or his companies may be a tad too emphatic a denial perhaps?
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Like +3 Object -4 Textpert 27 Feb 18, 19:58
What an eye for detail... Is that why you're still at that BPO?
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Like +5 Object -0 Lexpert 28 Feb 18, 03:02  interesting
Is this what the CAM Corp Comm team is up to? :)
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Like +0 Object -0 Wheredidwintergo 27 Feb 18, 18:44
As a non-lawyer visiting here off and on, but with corporate clients all over the world on matters discreet in India, let me assure you that pretty much every one of them has in the last couple of days asked directly and not so directly about what happens to attorney - client privilege in India now especially the opaque corporate veil and the foreign Directors who simple vanish sort of stuff. So, question back to the fine people here - what happens next?
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Like +0 Object -0 Mumbaimerijaan 19 Apr 18, 15:06
WOW! Not sure you should be representing Indian interests or India in any forum. Anyone with the ability to read the news will know that there is an increasing trend in authorities coming after lawyers that try and hide dirty hands behind the guise of privilege. Reference Keppel Case, Panama papers etc. Accountability is not a bad thing...oh and I encourage you to look up the difference between the corporate veil and attorney-client privilege. May surprise you to find they are not actually the same thing! As for your clients with matters "discreet" in India.....well thats just another way of saying "shady". Reference Keppel Case, Panama papers etc.
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Like +3 Object -0 Golden Boy 27 Feb 18, 19:22
Isn’t golden boy’s father former CBI and former CP of Mumbai ?! He must have known !
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Like +3 Object -1 KushRavi 28 Feb 18, 13:34
Other firms also do this. AZB had another former Mumbai CP's daughter on its rolls for ages.
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Like +5 Object -1 Vulgar Opulance Case 28 Feb 18, 16:20
I have come across one case, where one girl in legal area( I cant call her lawyer because she is doing jobs in investment co.s) was income tax commissioners daughter.She got jobs on this basis. She told me that she makes sure to tell everyone who her father is Income Tax Commissioner so that she gets respect and the seniors in office get scared. I thanked God that I am not like her and my good conscience did not permit such crass attitude in life. I find the whole system of getting job by reference plain cheap. What good is education if you cant even get a job yourself? And imagine the clients of such companies where the employees are not on merit. We need to protest this whole rich-influential-nepotism -reference-jobs monster. Its also frustrating for the hard working employees. We need to focus on talent and skill. I think its about time we appreciate the hard working ones and stop glamourising this foul persons grabbing creamy posts by influence. What say? A discussion is welcome.
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Like +4 Object -4 Missing the Point 28 Feb 18, 17:28
Oh sweet child you are missing the point. Kian is not your personal agony aunt. :)
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Like +3 Object -0 kianganz 28 Feb 18, 17:35
Well I'm also not the only person responding to comments... :)

Or maybe I am, who am I kidding... I don't really have an opinion on this so much - yes, it's unfair, but connections is also what makes the world go round. And, most of the time, people who make it purely on the basis of their connection without any merit, won't go very far. Then again, Trump and half of the senior advocates at the bar are counter examples...
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Like +4 Object -1 Replying Missin Point 28 Feb 18, 18:40 was becos of comment 20 and 20.1 that I put 21....the common topic in comment 20, 20.1 and 21 was kids of powerful people....whats the big deal grandpa 21.1?

Comment 20 and 20.1 refreshed my memory and I recalled similar case.
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Like +1 Object -0 Interested Troll 01 Mar 18, 16:18
I came here just to find out who were the lawyers working on this particular matter. Don't disappoint us, Kian?
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Like +1 Object -0 kianganz 01 Mar 18, 16:19
On which matter? The scam or on the raid? :)
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Like +0 Object -0 Interested Troll 01 Mar 18, 16:28
The raid!
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Like +0 Object -1 kianganz 01 Mar 18, 16:41
Perhaps suprisingly, none currently, I believe...
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Like +1 Object -2 thereof 02 Mar 18, 16:37
really, initially LI had 'blackened' the law firm name.
But once it was all in public domain & even reported in newsprint, LI 'had' to disclose the name of firm being raided by CBI. Cyril Shroff owned part of erstwhile Amarchand Mangaldas, now called Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas.

even now the content severely diluted reads like 'A cought red handed by cops...but in the past B and C were also involved in somewhat similar activities'. C'mon put this straight, CBI has raided Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and NOT any other law firm or Advocate!!!
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Like +1 Object -0 BoldBeau 02 Mar 18, 19:54
Wow! You sure made THAT clear. What powers of observation. Guess you sharpen them everyday and wait for something like this to come up so that you can show your amazing legal prowress!
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Like +0 Object -0 FunnyCone 05 Mar 18, 14:07
comments are much better read than the article itself...
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