Ashish Lata Ramgobin, Mahatma Gandhi’s great-granddaughter, has been sentenced to seven years in jail by a South African court in a 6-million-rand cheating case.
Ms Ramgobin, 56, was pronounced guilty of defrauding industrialist SR Maharaj, who had paid 62 lakh rands (around Rs 3.3 crore) to her to clear the custom and import duties of a consignment from India that never arrived, news agency PTI’s language service, Bhasha, reported. He had been promised a cut in profit for extending the loan.
Ms Ramgobin is the daughter of activists Ela Gandhi and late Mewa Ramgobind.
In 2015, during the trial, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi of the National Prosecuting Authority had said Ms Ramgobin had forged fake receipts and documents to prove that the containers carrying linen were arriving in South Africa from India.
The court had granted her bail on a 50,000-rand surety.
Mr Maharaj’s company, New Africa Alliance Footwear, deals with the export, manufacturing and sale of clothes, linen and shoes. It also provides financial help to companies.
On Monday, the court was informed that Ms Ramgobin had met Mr Maharaj in August 2015 and had told him that she had ordered three linen containers from India for the South African hospital group, Netcare. She had entered a contract with Mr Maharaj, promising a share in profit.
Mr Maharaj later filed a police complaint after he came to know that the shipment was not arriving in South Africa.