Representational Photo
Representational Photo

The 56-year-old great-granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, Ashish Lata Ramgobin, who was accused in a six-million rand fraud and forgery case, has been sentenced to seven years in jail by a Durban court.

Lata Ramgobin, who is the daughter of noted rights activists Ela Gandhi and late Mewa Ramgobind, was accused of defrauding businessman SR Maharaj after he advanced R6.2 million to her for allegedly clearing import and Customs duties for a non-existent consignment from India.

On Monday, the court during the hearing was informed that Lata Ramgobin had met Maharaj, director of the New Africa Alliance Footwear Distributors, in August 2015. The company imports and manufactures and sells clothing, linen and footwear. Maharaj's company also provides finance to other companies on a profit-share basis.

Lata Ramgobin had told Maharaj that she had imported three containers of linen for the South African Hospital Group NetCare.

"She said she was experiencing financial difficulties to pay for import costs and customs and she needed the money to clear the goods at the harbour," NPA spokesperson Natasha Kara said on Monday.

"She advised 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," she said.

Because of Ramgobin's family credentials and NetCare documents, Maharaj had entered into a written agreement with her for the loan.

However, after Maharaj found out that the documents were forged and NetCare had no arrangements with Lata Ramgobin, he laid criminal charges.

The news has spread worldwide resulting into a lot of criticism for Ramgobind. Many are condemning her for spoiling Gandhi's legacy.

Here's what people are saying. Have a look.

With inputs from PTI.

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