PRAGNESH DESAI ORDERED TO PAY MOTHER OF FASHION MODEL'S DEATH

New Jersey, May 14, 2005
NRI press

New Jersey court, Judge Isabel B. Stark awarded $4 million to Madeleine Swiderski mother of Leona Swiderski, who was murdered two years ago during a trip to Mumbai with her fiance. No one present arguments on behalf of the defendant, Pragnesh Desai, the dead woman's fiance. Her attorney, Rosemarie Arnold, said she will attempt to gain access to Desai's assets to satisfy the judgment. owned 7-Eleven conveniences store in Cliffside Park and Wood-Ridge and had a stake in the Bukhara Grill, a restaurant with two locations in Manhattan

"There is no money in world that would bring my daughter back to me," a tearful Swiderski told The Record of Bergen County for Saturday newspapers after the judge's ruling. The judgment consists of $1 million for pain and suffering and $3 million for economic losses, including an estimate of the amount of money Leona would have made throughout her life.

Desai and Leona Swiderski, 33, an aspiring fashion model, were just weeks away from being married when they flew to Mumbai, India, Feb. 8, 2003. Swiderski disappeared not long after the planed landed. Her body turned up near a highway.

In Feb 23, 2003m Police recovered the money that Desai paid in two installments to his childhood friend Vipul Patel, 33. Patel, a resident of Vadodara town in neighboring Gujarat state, hired two men - Altaf Patel and Farooq Patel - who allegedly picked up Swinderski from the airport and killed her. He was charged with hiring a childhood friend to kill Leona to collect $1 million in life insurance.

The pair was acquitted at a trial in India, authorities there are appealing.

Source: NRI Press