Johny Sagariga faces fraud charges in Kerala; producer allegedly duped Thrissur native of Rs 2 crore

Johny Sagariga
Johny Sagariga. Photo: Manorama

Kochi: Malayalam film producer Johny Sagariga, recently arrested in a cheating case by a Coimbatore resident, is also accused in a similar case in Kerala. He allegedly cheated Jins Thomas, a native of Varakkara in Thrissur, out of Rs 2 crore. This case is currently being heard at the Thrissur Chief Judicial Magistrate Court. Jins claims that Johny hasn’t returned the title deed of his land, which he lent to Johny for pledging at the KSFE to avail a prized chit fund. Interestingly, Jins is a close friend and business associate of Dwarak Udaysankar, the complainant in the Coimbatore case.

Jins says he sought help from various authorities after realizing he had been cheated. Despite filing multiple complaints, including with the DGP, no action was taken. However, the police contacted him regarding his case after Johny's arrest in Coimbatore. Jins approached the court when Johny failed to return his money, and the cheques worth Rs 2 crore that he received from Johny as a guarantee bounced. Jins also alleged in court that Johny had given him cheques from a cancelled bank account.

Following Jins’ complaint, the Thrissur Judicial First-Class Magistrate Court ordered Johny to deposit Rs 40 lakh as interim compensation within two months in February this year. Jins claims Johny hasn’t deposited the amount. The case will soon have its next hearing. Jins notes he hasn’t received the title deed of his land as Johny still owes Rs 3.5 lakh to KSFE.
Jins revealed that Johny claimed he would produce several movies, including 'Niram 2', and even sent videos of renowned music director Keeravani, supposedly composing for the film. Jins admits he wasn’t suspicious initially and informed Johny of his intention to take legal action when payments were not made. Johny requested not to be insulted publicly but then bought a new car. Realizing he was being cheated, Jins approached the court.

In a complaint to the DGP in 2021, Jins stated that he invested Rs 75 lakh in the production of the movie 'Nonsense' in 2016-17, around the same time Dwarak Udaysankar also lent money. They were promised a 25% profit share. Despite a contract and cheques given without dates, they received no profit share or repayment. Johny claimed to have accepted Rs 1 crore from Chennai-based Super Good Films for distribution rights, needing more money to complete the movie. He promised them the distribution rights and the original Rs 75 lakh if they paid Super Good Films. Jins and Dwarak paid Rs 1.16 crore via Bawak, their jointly owned firm, and a new contract was signed. By then, Jins had paid Johny around Rs 2 crore.

When Johny didn’t respond after the movie’s release, Jins informed him of his legal intentions. Johny gave him two cheques of Rs 1 crore each, to be cashed after February 12, 2021, but they bounced. Unable to meet Johny in person, Jins took legal action.
Meanwhile, Johny received Rs 80 lakh from a KSFE chit fund. Jins provided the title deed of land worth over Rs 1 crore to pledge for the chit amount, as Johny claimed he couldn’t pledge his ancestral properties in Alappuzha and Cherthala due to partition issues. Johny promised to return the title deed within three months but failed to pay the KSFE instalments. Jins was shocked when KSFE authorities informed him his land would be auctioned due to Rs 40 lakh in unpaid dues. An additional Rs 1.5 lakh is needed to release the title deed of his land.

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