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BR Shetty & NMC Health: The Rise & Fall Of India’s Strongest Asset In The UAE

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Have you heard about BR Shetty from NMC Health? Considered an avid supported of PM Narendra Modi in the UAE the story of BR Shetty & his company NMC Health is shattering and yet very inspiring. 

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“Be careful what you wish, for wishes do come true,” the maxim seems to be true in the case of Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty (BR Shetty) who in an interview in 2018, remarked, “If I don’t have one problem a day, that’s not a good day for me. I should have a problem, solve it and then feel satisfied.”

BR Shetty & NMC Health

BR Shetty’s wish seems to have come true as he has been overwhelmed with problems ever since his fortunes dwindled after becoming one of first Indians to make his fortune in the UAE’s healthcare industry when he set up NMC Health in the 1970s and grew it exponentially.

BR Shetty was the living embodiment of the Indian economic dream. He was born in Kaup, Udupi in Karnataka and worked as the Vice Chairman of the Municipal Council in Udupi.

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Shetty set sail for the oil-rich Gulf country of United Arab Emirates in 1973 with nothing but a pharmaceutical degree and just $8 out of which he built a massive $4.2 billion enterprise by 2018 according to Forbes.

Muddy Water Spills On NMC Health & BR Shetty

However, his woes started to overflow soon after when short-seller Carson Block of Muddy Waters Research wrote a damning report accusing NMC Health of fraudulent asset values and theft of company assets.

The tweet dropped like a bomb on New Medical Centre, UAE largest private healthcare provider founded by BR Shetty. Immediately the share price tanked which surprised Muddy Waters as they had not mentioned the name of the company against whom they were going to initiate the campaign.

The report mentioned that NMC health had understated its debt by $4.5 billion. His financial firm Finablr that owns UAE Exchange found that $100 million worth of cheques were issued without the board’s knowledge.

Top executives of both firms were sacked and LSE suspended trading of both the companies. BR Shetty himself had to step down as director and chairman of NMC health and is facing criminal charges for fraud and forgery in Abu Dhabi.

BR Shetty In A Soup Over Loans

NMC reportedly owns money to 80 institutions and according to Bloomberg. NMC Health owes Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) $963 million, Dubai Islamic Bank $541 million, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank $325 million, Standard Chartered $250 million and Barclays $146 million.

Shetty, since the report has emerged, has flown back to India and has promised full disclosure of the all that transpired.

BR Shetty like his father served the Municipal Council of Udupi early in his teen years. Although his father was a Congress loyalist, Shetty was drawn towards the then-popular leader and later India’s Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee who he used to drive in his car whenever he visited their area.

His business as a distributor for a Pune based Pharmaceutical Company soon was disturbed due to his political activities which forced him to take a loan to fund his sister’s wedding. That incident left an indelible mark on Shetty who decided to move UAE to make his fortune.

With his hard work, dedication and passion he incorporated NMC which also became the first healthcare company from the country to be listed on LSE and be a part of FTSE100 Index and MSCI Global Index.

Its IPO was a hit as it raised 117 million pounds. His company catered to 8.5 million patients annually across 200 facilities in 17 different countries. Shetty then went on to form UAE Exchange a major remittance firm in 1980 which served 15 million customers and had a strong fiscal tie-up with around 140 banks.

He also founded pharmaceutical manufacturing company Neopharma in 2003 which was inaugurated by then Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam. Shetty had also signed up to be part of the Giving Pledge — a campaign by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett — committing to donate to charity at least half of his personal fortune.

Can Freeh Group Free BR Shetty Of Fraud Allegations?

Since the company’s and BR Shetty’s fortunes took a nosedive, NMC Health appointed Freeh Group, headed by a former FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) director, to investigate the charges. The investigation found that unknown to the board and the stock market, the company had entered into a $335 million financing arrangement with entities controlled by Shetty and another main shareholder, Khaleefa Bin Butti.

There was also confusion about how much stake each shareholder-owned, with the company revealing that few principal shareholders had misstated their claim. Finablr which thought it would remain unscathed by the troubles at NMC found that it had unaccounted cheques of USD 100 million issued to third parties.

The most damaging aspect of all was that NMC’s debt was revealed to be 6.6 USD billion which was way higher than initial reports. Shetty earlier has stated to return to Abu Dhabi and fulfil his obligations after the coronavirus tide subsides.

Via: Economic Times

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Pakistan Army Ambushed in Balochistan, Upto 20 Soldiers Reportedly Killed

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that security forces were patrolling near Gichak valley in the Panjgur district of Balochistan when they came under attack. 

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Three soldiers of Pakistan Army were killed and eight others, including an officer, were injured in an ambush on their convoy near Gichak valley in Balochistan’s Panjgur district on Tuesday. The Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a statement issued after the ambush, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that security forces were patrolling near Gichak valley in the Panjgur district of Balochistan when they came under attack.

“Three soldiers embraced shahadat [martyrdom] while eight soldiers received injuries, including an officer. Five injured are critical,” the ISPR said. The injured soldiers were shifted to Combined Military Hospital in Quetta where 5 remain in critical condition.

Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari said that the attack was a “condemnable act of terrorism”.

Senate Deputy Chairperson Saleem Mandviwala condemned the firing on security forces’ patrolling party in Balochistan, saying it was a plot to harm peace in Pakistan. “The entire nation stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the armed forces,” Mandviwala said. “Our soldiers have made many sacrifices to help establish peace in the country.”

Counter Claims

Contrary to Pakistani media claims, other news outlets report that the casualty figures are higher. In its report, Al Jazeera said that 8 Pakistani Army soldiers were killed in the ambush attack in Balochistan.

The BLF claimed responsibility for the attack and said that 20 soldiers had been eliminated. BLF spokesman Major Gwahram Baloch said that this morning Sarmachaars attacked a convoy of five vehicles of Pakistan Army in Gichk area of Panjgoor district.

At Mok-e-Kandag, Sarmachaars ambushed the occupying forces with rockets and automatic heavy weapons. The attack damaged all five vehicles and killed more than 20 personnel, including an officer on board.  The BLF has vowed not to stop the attacks until Balochistan attains independence.

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Azerbaijani General, 15 Others Killed In Azerbaijan-Armenia Border Clash

Azerbaijan-Armenia Border Clash conflict commenced on Sunday and Azerbaijan said it has lost 11 soldiers and one civilian while Armenia acknowledged the loss of four troops.

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Azerbaijani Army Major-General Polad Gashimov and Colonel Ilgar Mirzoyev were killed in border clashes between soldiers of Azerbaijan and Armenia, Azerbaijan’s APA news agency reported on Tuesday.

“Major-General Polad Gashimov and colonel Ilgar Mirzoyev died heroically in the morning battles,” the news agency quoted the deputy defense minister as saying. Azerbaijan’s state news agency AzerTAc also confirmed this information.

There are reports that at least 16 people, including the army general, have been killed in fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan forces in the worst border clashes in years. Conflicts on the volatile border between the two neighbours commenced on Sunday and Azerbaijan said it has lost 11 soldiers and one civilian while Armenia acknowledged the loss of four troops.

Azerbaijanis gathered early Wednesday in front of the National Assembly building in the capital demanding that they be mobilized amid clashes with Armenian forces on the frontier.

Thousands of Azerbaijanis marched in the streets of Baku to protest against the occupation of Upper Karabakh by Armenia and attacks by its forces since Sunday on border positions of the Azerbaijani army which have resulted in casualties.

Azerbaijanis living in Baku and surrounding areas formed a cortege in the streets of the city in the evening. Holding Azerbaijani flags and chanting “Karabakh is ours, and will remain ours,” they gathered in front of the country’s parliament building, where they demanded the government to declare a mobilization as they are ready to go to the frontlines and protect their motherland.

On Sunday, Armenian forces, as per their media reports, violated an ongoing ceasefire and targeted positions of Azerbaijan’s army in northwestern Tovuz district along the Azerbaijani-Armenian border, resulting in casualties. Azerbaijan’s armed response forced the Armenian army to retreat, suffering losses.

As a result, an Azerbaijani civilian was killed in artillery fire in Aghdam village in Tovuz. “Targeting Azerbaijani civilians with heavy guns is clear proof of fascism and barbarism. This is part of the occupation policy of Armenia.

The Armenian side has purposefully killed Azerbaijani civilians before, thus committing acts of crime against humanity,” Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. A total of 11 Azerbaijani soldiers have been killed, including high-ranking officers, and another four wounded in fighting with Armenian forces since Sunday.

Nearly 100 Armenian soldiers have been killed during the period, according to Kerim Veliyev, Azerbaijan’s deputy defense minister. Azerbaijan earlier stated that Armenia hides its casualties.

On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the Armenian attack, adding that Turkey will not hesitate to stand against any kind of attacks against Azerbaijan. Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan, has been illegally occupied since 1991 through Armenian military aggression.

Four UN Security Council resolutions and two UN General Assembly resolutions as well as decisions by many international organizations refer to this fact and demand the withdrawal of the occupational Armenian forces from Upper Karabakh and seven other occupied regions of Azerbaijan.

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India Committed to Funding, Building Chabahar Railway Project In Iran – Indian Officials

TOI quoting senior officials at the Indian embassy in the Iranian capital said, “India is committed to building the Chabahar-Zahedan railway line and is continuously engaged with Iranian authorities concerned to take this important project forward.”

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On the recent reports that Iran had sidelined India from the Chabahar port railway project, New Delhi has contradicted Iran’s assertions that it is out of the Chabahar-Zahedan rail project.

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Senior Indian officials saying that New Delhi remained “committed” to financing and building the railway which is a vital part of the Chabahar port project, reports the Times of India.

TOI quoting senior officials at the Indian embassy in the Iranian capital said, “India is committed to building the Chabahar-Zahedan railway line and is continuously engaged with Iranian authorities concerned to take this important project forward.”

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The Iranian government source according to the reports explained – It was anticipated that besides investment in the Chabahar Port, New Delhi could also play a significant role in financing and building this vital transit route from Chabahar to Zahedan and from Zahedan to Sarakhs at the border with Turkmenistan which in the absence of active Indian engagement & funding is being developed by Iran.

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The Zahedan railway project reportedly has two elements — the ‘sub-structure’ which is earth-moving and making the ground for the tracks and the ‘super-structure’ which comprises the tracks and rakes. Tehran is responsible for the first part while New Delhi for the rest. However, the Indian part needs steel which is presently under US sanctions, and this has caused a delay, states the TOI report.

The port, however, is doing exhilarating business and has been shielded from US sanctions purely by Indian diplomacy.

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