Kochi: Five months after Dubai-based businessman Abdul Lahir Hassan accused his estranged son-in-law of swindling Rs 108 crore from him, Kerala police have not made any headway into the case.
For various reasons, Kerala High Court, too, has postponed the hearing of the anticipatory bail petition filed by son-in-law Hafeez Kudroli 16 times. The next hearing is scheduled on February 1.
State Police Chief Anil Kant has directed Ernakulam range deputy inspector general A Srinivas to immediately submit a report on the status of the investigation. The missive was sent on January 25.
The state police chief's intervention comes after Lahir wrote to the chief minister seeking an investigation into the role of the police and the prosecution in the case.
Lahir, who runs five schools and a construction business in the UAE, feared that attempts were being made to sabotage the case. His letter, however, did not name the "forces" influencing the police.
'There is a crime, but little progress'
Mohammed Hafeez Kudroli (28), a native of Chengala village in Kasaragod, married Lahir's only daughter Hajera Lahir in January 2017.
On August 21, 2022, Lahir -- a native of Aluva -- filed a complaint with Aluva police accusing his son of swindling Rs 107,98,85,909 ($13.30 million) out of the family by allegedly cooking up stories of big-budget property deals, raids by the Income Tax Department and the Enforcement Directorate, forging documents of these government agencies and property developers, and impersonating as celebrities and business owners.
Lahir alleged the frauds were committed between July 2018 and March 2022.
Hajera has filed for divorce from Hafeez and is now living with her parents in Dubai.
The cheating and forgery case was initially investigated by Aluva deputy superintendent of police (DySP) P Sivankutty.
But Lahir formerly accused him of either accepting money or acting under the pressure of external intervention. The case was transferred to Ernakulam Rural District Crime Branch. "There, too, the case is not being properly investigated," he alleged.
Crime Branch DySP V Rajeev said there is a case of cheating but the investigation has made little progress. The police have reportedly frozen his bank accounts and sealed the lockers.
Director General of Prosecution Advocate T A Shaji said Lahir had impleaded in the case and he can put forward his views directly before the court.
That's exactly what Lahir has been doing with little support from the government.
He said Hafeez Kudroli had moved the court to get the travel ban revoked under the pretext of renewing his visa.
Aluva police had issued a lookout notice (LOC) against him on the initial day of the investigation to prevent him from fleeing abroad.
But in the court, the prosecution did not make an earnest effort to oppose his petition.
Lahir's legal team found that Hafeez Kudroli was facing a travel ban in the UAE, too, in a case of allegedly defrauding a Jordanian of 6.5 million dirhams (around Rs 14.43 crore).
The travel ban was issued by the UAE's Department of Airport Police under the Ministry of Interior on January 16, 2023.
"We produced the documents in the court and his petition was rejected," said Lahir.
Since Kudroli faced arrested in Dubai, his plan was not to renew the visa but to flee to another country, alleged Lahir. Ironically, Kudroli's visa was sponsored by his father-in-law's company in Dubai. "For that, he submitted a forged degree certificate," said Lahir.
Among the charges against Hafeez is that he is using a Land Rover worth around Rs 1.5 crore and registered in the name of Lahir's son's wife in Puducherry. The least the police could do is recover the car, said Lahir.
Lahir had also submitted evidence of alleged forgery committed by Hafeez Kudroli to the police.
In his letter to the chief minister, Lahir said Hafeez had allegedly forged the letterhead of Mumbai-based builder Lodha Group to make a Rs 150-crore offer for his property 'The Platynum Mall' near The Wyte Fort at Maradu in Kochi.
Lahir said he submitted to police the forged document, bank statements, and WhatsApp messages to prove Hafeez defrauded him.
He said the Rs 108 crore he gave to Hafeez over the four years was transferred from his NRI bank accounts.
In his letter to the chief minister, Lahir asked him to investigate why there was a delay in the police investigation despite his submitting all documents. "Since the court has not stayed the investigation, why have the police not recovered the vehicle from Hafeez? Police have not yet given a proper reply to that," he wrote.
The state police chief has asked DIG Srinivas to conduct an investigation into the allegations raised by Lahir and provide him with the answers immediately.