Wednesday, July 24, 2024

‘Spent more on dog than staff’: Billionaire Hindujas accused of trafficking | India News

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Ajy Hinduja Familly

Prosecutors said the family is accused of seizing the staff’s passports. (Bloomberg Photo)

The billionaire Hinduja family is currently on trial in Switzerland for alleged human trafficking after being accused by their domestic staff of exploitation and mistreatment.


The trial began on Monday after four members of the Hinduja family were indicted last year by Geneva prosecutors for alleged human trafficking and mistreatment of their domestic staff. The prosecution stated that Ajay Hinduja, his wife Namrata, his father Prakash, and mother Kamal made their Indian staff work up to 18 hours a day without a day off.


The incident is said to have taken place at their villa overlooking Lake Geneva in Switzerland. There are three plaintiffs in the case.


‘Salaries were fraction of local wages, spent more on dog’


According to the prosecution, the staff’s salaries amounted to only a few hundred Swiss francs a month. They alleged, citing a budget document, that while the family spent 8,584 Swiss francs in a year on their family dog, one of their servants was paid only 7 Swiss francs ($7.84) for a day’s work.


Prosecutors said the family is accused of seizing the staff’s passports and having them work on short-term tourist visas repeatedly obtained on false pretences. Citing the staff contracts, they also alleged that the house helpers were paid their wages in India and could not leave the house without the employers’ permission.


Hindujas reject allegations


Ajay rejected the allegations. “Someone who would make an employee work that hard would be an idiot,” he told the court on Monday. “She would not have been able to do her job properly if she worked 18 hours a day, seven days a week.”


He further said that he was shocked by the accusations since he considered the nanny to be a second mum to his children.


He also claimed that the Swiss embassy in India had endorsed his employees’ contracts. However, the officials argued that checks showed that his staff lacked the correct Swiss paperwork.


The Hinduja Group operates in eleven sectors, including automotive, oil, and finance. The family boasts a net worth of $20 billion, according to a Forbes 2023 list.

First Published: Jun 19 2024 | 9:56 AM IST


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