Four people linked to the Masala group of Indian restaurants must hand over or disclose the whereabouts of up to 200 boxes of documents after liquidators applied to have them held in contempt of court.

The liquidators, Damien Grant and Steven Khov, have reserved the right to still push for a contempt ruling after the four allegedly failed to comply with court orders made last July that required them to provide company documents. The possible penalties for contempt of court include jail time.

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While Justice Matthew Muir today said there was apparent "non-compliance", the situation was complicated by the police seizing a "substantial number of company records".

One of the quartet had also recently delivered 30 boxes of documents to the liquidators.


The police, in December, executed search warrants and froze $34 million of assets belonging to people and companies associated with the Masala group of restaurants. It was revealed this month that the IRD and other authorities allege firms and individuals with links to the Indian food chain were involved in "systemic" tax evasion and breached employment and immigration laws.

The four facing the contempt application - Rajwinder Grewal, Satwant Singh, Ravinder Kaur and Joti Jain - now have 10 working days to produce relevant documents still in their possession.

If they no longer have company records and once did, they must also tell the liquidators where they believe these documents are.

Justice Muir made these orders after both sides reached an agreement and the judge said "complete, candid and timely compliance" was expected.

Earlier today the court hear that 180 to 200 boxes of documents associated with the companies had been returned by IRD.

The judge said there was inconsistent evidence from Jain, firstly that the documents were in a storage unit and later that they were in the garage at her Remuera address and then removed.

Mike Tolhurst - a now-retired lawyer who previously acted for Jain - said the 180 to 200 boxes of documents were were broken down into bags and taken to the house of Rupinder Chahil, who is the founder of the Masala chain of restaurants.

Chahil had told him that all documents were handed over to police, IRD or the liquidators, Tolhurst said.

The case will come back to court next month.