Actors Cut Ties With Hustlers Hospitality Amid Allegations Of Drug Syndicate Money Laundering Through Restaurant Ventures

Actors Cut Ties With Hustlers Hospitality Amid Allegations Of Drug Syndicate Money Laundering Through Restaurant Ventures

The ED's investigation reveals that Oza assisted Aliasgar Sirazi in laundering money earned from the illegal drug trade through his restaurants.

Rahul MUpdated: Monday, July 08, 2024, 12:16 AM IST
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Shiv Thakare And Abdu Rozik | Instagram

Hustlers Hospitality Private Limited, operating in the hospitality sector, has been allegedly found linked with the notorious drug syndicate led by drug lord Aliasgar Sirazi. According to a prosecution complaint(PC) filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Krunal Oza, the director of Hustlers Hospitality, allegedly utilized funds derived from Sirazi’s illegal psychotropic drug trafficking operations to fuel his restaurant ventures.

Oza collaborated with celebrities like actor Shiv Thakare and Tajikistan singer Abdu Rozik, known for his appearance on Bigg Boss 16, to launch restaurant ventures. The ED's investigation reveals that Oza assisted Aliasgar Sirazi in laundering money earned from the illegal drug trade through his restaurants.

The complaint details how Oza channeled profits from the illicit drug trade into his restaurants and then laundered the money. He converted the earnings from the restaurant and cloud kitchen into legitimate revenue, using celebrity endorsements to obscure the illicit nature of his financial activities. By strategically leveraging glamour and high-profile names, Oza was able to disguise his money laundering schemes and make them less detectable to authorities and the public.

According to the ED’s prosecution complaint, Oza circumvented legal financial channels by entering into a partnership with television actor Shiv Thakare for the launch of “Thakre Chai and Snacks.” In this venture, Thakare held a 49% stake, while Hustlers Hospitality Private Limited retained a 51% stake. It is alleged that Oza invested ₹25 lakhs and paid a 10% agent commission in cash for this partnership.

Simultaneously, Oza launched “Burgir Restaurant” in Oshiwara in collaboration with Tajikistan singer Abdu Rozik. Similar to his previous venture, Oza invested ₹25 lakhs plus a 10% cash agent commission for this deal, with an additional ₹90 lakhs invested for the restaurant’s setup. The complaint highlights that these substantial transactions were conducted through cash payments deal.

Thakare’s statement to the financial probe agency revealed that Oza had provided him ₹11 lakhs in cash as part of the royalty payment for the “Thakre Chai and Snacks” venture. Despite Thakare’s request for a bank transfer, Oza insisted on cash transactions, and Thakare claimed to be unaware of the funds' origins.

According to Thakre statement Oza approached him through a PR agency in March 2023 with a proposal to open "Shiv Thakre Chai & Snacks." They met at JW Hotel, where Oza detailed his extensive experience in the hotel and restaurant business. Oza also mentioned an existing agreement with Rozik for opening another restaurant. Thakare and Oza signed an MoU, under which Oza was to pay Thakare ₹25 lakhs yearly as royalty, giving an advance of ₹11 lakhs in cash.

The prosecution complaint states that while tracking the money trail from the drug trade, investigative agencies discovered that the funds given to celebrities to venture into the restaurant business, setting up restaurants and cloud kitchens, purchasing tables and chairs, and  even hire the chefs, were actually part of Sirazi's illicit earnings from the drug business.

The prosecution complaint from the financial probe agency alleges that Krunal Oza was fully aware of the nature and origin of the proceeds generated by Aliasgar Shirazi and that he knowingly assisted Shirazi through the company M/s Hustlers Hospitality Private Limited in concealing, possessing, acquiring, using, projecting, and claiming these proceeds as untainted for his own personal gain.

The complaint also asserts that M/s Hustlers Hospitality Private Limited was utilised as a vehicle to hide, possess, acquire, use, project, and claim proceeds generated from the illegal trafficking of psychotropic substances. Consequently, Krunal Oza and his company is found guilty under Section 3 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, and is liable for punishment under Section 4 of the PMLA.

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