A private investigator appointed by Durban businessman Thoshan Panday to probe the alleged theft of his R2.5 million Ferrari by a former friend has withdrawn his services, citing a disreputable relationship between the two.
Panday had enlisted the services of Chad Thomas of IRS Investigations to investigate the alleged theft of the Ferrari by Vinesh Sukhari, and return the flashy sports car.
According to Thomas, so sordid is the relationship between the two, he withdrew his services as he did not want to be associated with the men.
Sukhari, a Bedfordview businessman, who is understood to have entered into a joint venture with Panday, has a chequered past.
Panday is also no stranger to the law.
Panday accuses Sukhari, who owns a string of businesses, including a car rental service in Gauteng, of reneging on a deal to buy the Italian supercar.
He claims he has tried several times to seize the vehicle, which remains registered in the name of his business, Gold Coast Trading.
Panday - who is an associate of Edward Zuma and Deebo Mzobe, relatives of President Jacob Zuma - faced multiple charges of fraud and corruption which were withdrawn early this year.
Thomas initially agreed to the task but has since distanced himself from Panday after uncovering critical information and conflicting versions of his relationship with Sukhari.
“Our investigations have revealed that Sukhari has used various variations of his identity number in opening various companies. Furthermore, he has been charged previously with serious crimes where he once again used different variations of his identity number to try to beat the criminal justice system,” he said.
“I am surprised that Panday did not do a complete background check on Sukhari before handing over a R2.5m supercar. What was also of concern was the fact that Panday made two conflicting statements relating to his actual relationship with Sukhari.
“In view of this, IRS cannot continue to represent Panday. We will be handing over our most recent findings to the authorities for further investigation.”
He confirmed Sukhari had been using an alternate identity number and had racked up charges of reckless and negligent driving, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and rape. He was found guilty on the first charge and the latter two were withdrawn.
Panday initially claimed in an affidavit to have met Sukhari when the latter responded to an advert in the Autotrader to buy the Ferrari. However, he says in another affidavit that the two had been business partners and were friends.
At the centre of their purported business relationship is Sukhari’s company, Cianam Trading 119, into which Panday claims he ploughed millions.
Panday says in the affidavit he met Sukhari in April last year.
“During this time, I came to trust him not only as a business partner, but also as a close friend. In my capacity as sole member of Panda Petroleum CC, I entered into a joint venture agreement with Sukhari’s company.”
Panday says he advanced Sukhari R2m for their joint venture and that, as their friendship grew, the Gauteng businessman asked to borrow the flashy sports car. He promised to return it in a week, which he did.
Panday claims that Sukhari borrowed the car again, before expressing interest in buying the vehicle for R2.2m. “I allowed him to retain possession of the Ferrari under the premise that he would… take ownership once finance was arranged.”
Panday, speaking through his attorney Trushanta Somaru, said he and Sukhari were business partners who met through a mutual friend.
“That business association no longer exists. Mr Panday has and had no knowledge of Mr Sukhari’s alleged criminal past.” - Sunday Tribune