Hindujas spent more on pet dog than a servant’s salary, kept their passports: ‘Couldn’t leave house…' - Hindustan Times
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Hindujas spent more on pet dog than a servant’s salary, kept their passports: ‘Couldn’t leave house…'

Jun 19, 2024 11:26 AM IST

The Hinduja family accused the prosecutor of painting a misleading picture of how much the workers were paid as their lawyer.

Hindujas- Britain’s richest family spent more money on their pet dog than they did on one of their servants, a Swiss court was told as prosecutors called for the family to face jail time over allegations of trafficking and exploitation of staff. In the court, prosecutor Yves Bertossa said, “They spent more for one dog than one of their servants" and claimed that one women was paid just seven Swiss francs (£6.19) to work for up to 18 hours a day for seven days a week.

Ajay Hinduja (L) and his wife Namrata are seen. Lawyers for the Hinduja family rejected the claims as they cited testimony from servants who said they had been treated with dignity.
Ajay Hinduja (L) and his wife Namrata are seen. Lawyers for the Hinduja family rejected the claims as they cited testimony from servants who said they had been treated with dignity.

The prosecutor also said that staff contracts didn’t specify working hours or days off as those employed had to available as needed. The passports of servants were also confiscated and they had no Swiss francs to spend as their wages were paid in India, the prosecutor argued. 

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Servants couldn’t leave the house without their employer’s permission and had little to no freedom, he added. 

Prosecutors sought jail time for Ajay Hinduja and his wife Namrata and demanded the family cover 1 million Swiss francs in court costs and pay 3.5 million francs for a compensation fund for the staff.

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What Hinduja group said on the allegations

Lawyers for the Hinduja family rejected the claims as they cited testimony from servants who said they had been treated with dignity. The Hinduja family also accused the prosecutor of painting a misleading picture of how much the workers were paid as their lawyer said that salaries cannot accurately reflect pay for staff as they were also provided with board and lodgings.

Eighteen hour-working days is also an exaggeration, the lawyers for Hinduja family said, adding, “When they sit down to watch a movie with the kids, can that be considered work? I think not."

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The idea of “breaking the rich to make the poor less poor” is attractive but “the decision rendered in this case must be a judicial one”, the lawyers further said. 

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