Kasaragod: The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) has frozen bank accounts and seized property documents of businessman Abdurahiman Chenoth Thirummal, accused of swindling around Rs 340 crore from multiple banks in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The ED said it launched an investigation based on an FIR filed by Chandera Police in Kasaragod.
According to Chandera Police, Abdurahiman, a native of Mettammal village in Kasaragod's Trikaripur grama panchayat, took a loan of 68.159 million Arab Emirates dirhams (AED) from Invest Bank in Sharjah for the development of his company called 'Hexa Oil and Gas Services LLC'. The bank gave the money in two tranches in October 2017 and January 2018. He repaid a part of the loan but still owed 42.898 million dirhams or Rs 83.36 crore to the bank.
In February 2021, a representative of Invest Bank approached Chandera Police and filed a cheating complaint (Section 420 of IPC) against Abdurahiman.
In 2022, Shamsheer Sam (38), a native of Mogral Puthur grama panchayat in Kasaragod approached Chandera Police saying Abdurahiman made him take a personal loan of 340,000 dirhams (around Rs 77.24 lakh) but did not repay the money. Shamsheer Sam was an employee of Hexa Oil and Gas Services.
Chandera police registered the First Information Reports (FIR) in both cases only on the direction of a local court.
Abdurahiman moved the High Court of Kerala and got a stay on the police investigation in the first case (of cheating Invest Bank), said an officer of Chandera police station.
In Shamsheer Sam's case, the police investigation found that there was a mismatch in the statement given to the court and the police station, he said. "So the police filed a report to that effect in the court and the case is closed," he said.
But the Directorate of Enforcement in Kochi picked the threads from the first FIR registered in Chandera Police Station. It conducted search operations at eight premises of Abdurahiman, his wife Zareena Majeed, and his associates in Kochi, Kozhikode, and Kasaragod on Thursday, December 7, said ED in a statement.
Though the initial complaint was for 42.898 million dirhams (Rs 83.36 crore), ED said its investigation found that Abdurahiman had availed loans to the tune of around 150 million dirhams (approximately Rs 340 crore) from multiple banks, including Invest Bank.
He allegedly diverted the money by transferring it to several entities and through withdrawals in cash, it said. "He is suspected to have diverted funds withdrawn in cash through hawala channels and invested the same in multiple companies in the fields of construction, media, chemical industry and information technology," ED said.
The central agency said its "searches have revealed the modus operandi of this large-scale cross-border offence of money laundering".
Abdurahiman cheated foreign banks, embezzled loan amounts granted for business purposes and used the same for his personal benefit, ED alleged. During the searches, several incriminating documents and electronic devices have been seized, it said.
ED has ordered freezing of Rs 3.58 crore in the bank accounts of Abdurahiman and other accused in the case. It has also seized the documents of his immovable properties and shares in his associated companies.