Skeletons tumble out in Kerala financial fraud case

September 4th, 2008 - 7:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 4 (IANS) Investigations into the financial fraud allegedly committed by a 20-year-old in Kerala were handed over to the state police crime branch Thursday and a government official was suspended for suspected links with him.Sabarinath, who ran a share-broking cum financial institution here, was arrested Monday evening after being on the run for five days. He is alleged to have cheated clients to the tune of Rs.2 billion.

Reports allege that a member of the local police team that conducted the initial probe into the scam had close links with Sabarinath.

Also, the state industries department Thursday suspended S. Chandramathi, a top official working with the Small Industries Development Corporation. Sabarinath had told the media after his arrest that she had cheated him.

But Chandramathi in an interview to a leading local newspaper has said she had had no links with Sabarinath for more than 15 months and was not involved in any dealings with him.

Reports aired by TV channels Thursday also claimed that the police officer who was investigating the case had sung in a yet-to-be released music album produced by Sabarinath and that the two were close.

The arrest of Sabarinath at Nagercoil in Tamil Nadu also came under attack in the media, which speculated that it was a well-planned drama between the police and a gang led by ‘Airport Sajan’ to whom the former owed money.

What has baffled many is the manner in which Sabarinath was allowed to speak to the media, just before he was produced in a court Tuesday.

Opposition leader Oommen Chandy Thursday said a case of this dimension was probably happening for the first time in Kerala.

“A section of depositors had approached me telling me of their woes and how they have lost all their savings. It would be in the best interest of all if police do a thorough investigation,” said Chandy.

Reports also indicate that the military intelligence is investigating if Sabarinath had received any ‘hawala money’.

Sabarinath, who studied up to Class 12, fell out with his parents when they refused to give him money to start his business. He began as a financial consultant with a life insurance company and 18 months ago launched his firm Total4U.

He used to offer Rs.160,000 on an investment of Rs.100,000 for three months. With high returns and prompt payments, Sabarinath won the confidence of many and his client base increased. But since last month, people stopped getting any money. Towards the end August, he went absconding.

Sabarinath had a lavish lifestyle and owned many luxury cars. He even opened a recording studio in a prominent hotel at Kochi a month ago.

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