Footballer-turned hustler held, wanted in 18 police stations in Kerala

Kulathinkal Shanu alias Shameem (35). Photo: Special arrangement

Thrissur: A 35-year-old Kerala man arrested in Mumbai in a case related to defrauding vegetable vendors in Thrissur has emerged a notorious hustler, who began his criminal life using his identity as a footballer.

Kulathinkal Shanu alias Shameem, a native of Hosdurg in Kasaragod, was taken into custody from Mumbai recently. Mannuthy Police, who nabbed him, said Shanu operated an illegal dance bar on the outskirts of Mumbai.

According to the police, Shanu defrauded Rs 68,718 from retail vegetable vendors in Thrissur in October. He collected digital payments by promising to deliver vegetables from wholesale vendors.

The police learned that he had been using the same method to defraud vendors in Thrissur for some time. Even though Shanu fled to Mumbai and switched SIM cards, he did not get rid of his phone, which helped the Mannuthy Police track him. He has been charged under sections 66(b) of the IT Act and 420 of IPC.

From footballer to criminal
According to the Mannuthy Police, Shanu, who played seven-a-side football, reached Kochi to play for clubs. But he began using that identity to dupe job aspirants. The police said he used to claim that he had connections with a popular football league. He impersonated a vigilance officer, claiming to have joined the Railways on sports quota.

His first arrest was recorded in 2015 in Ernakulam on the complaint of a Kottarakkara native, who was cheated of Rs 13 lakh. A detailed inquiry revealed that he defrauded crores of rupees from over 300 people by promising them jobs.

A plethora of cases
Cases of job fraud were registered against Shanu at  Thiruvananthapuram, Kazhakoottam, Poojappura, Kaniyapuram, Kottarakkara, Kottayam East, Ernakulam Central, Mala, Mananthavady, Hosdurg and Vellarikundu police stations.

He was also caught smuggling gold at the Nedumbassery Airport and held for duping traders. A long-pending warrant was issued against him for absconding from cases registered at Vellarikundu, Ernakulam North, Kottayam Town East, Poojapura and Mananthavady.

According to the Mannuthy Police, at least 38 cases are registered against Shanu in 18 police stations in the state. The police said that more people approached them with complaints after Shanu's arrest.

The investigation team comprised Mannuthy Station House Officer S Shukkoor, sub-inspector KS Jayan, assistant sub-inspector KP Satish, civil police officers KN Neerajmon and PP Ajith and Cybercell CPOs Sarath and Suhail.

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