Much of Antwerp’s diamond sector was closed for business Friday to protest the death of a diamond dealer while under police custody, according to published reports.
On Thursday, according to reports in JDMine and Rapaport, Nikhil Manilal, 46, a diamond trader and manufacturer of Indian origin, died during a raid at his house by the Belgium tax police.
Manilal reportedly collapsed during the raid and the police were slow to provide medical assistance.
JDMine, quoting unconfirmed published reports, said the raid on Manilal’s house began at 7:30 a.m. Manilal, who was known to suffer from a heart condition, told the police officers that he needed medical attention. Media reports said that they did not take his appeals seriously at first, and by the time an ambulance was called his condition had seriously deteriorated. He was pronounced dead soon afterward.
News about Manilal’s death was reportedly greeted with shock in the Antwerp diamond community, where he was well known as executive at the Beltaj NV diamond company, which is part of giant Mumbai-based Gem Star group.