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Indian businessman arrested in Dubai over fraud charges

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Dubai:  An India-based jewellery group’s owner has been arrested by Dubai police following allegations of default against him by a number of banks, a media report said.

Kerala-based MM Ramchandran, founder of Atlas Jewellery group, was arrested by police last week.

Later on, his wife and daughter were also held following allegations of default adding up to millions, Gulf News said.

A security official said that five cases were filed by banks against Ramachandran in three different police stations in Dubai, the paper reported.

“The total amount is Dirham 50 million (nearly Rs 100 crore), the biggest bounced cheque is worth Dh 34 million and the case was lodged at Bur Dubai police station, where he was brought in on August 23,” it added.

Investigations said Ramachandran owes approximately Dh 550 million (over Rs 1,000 crore) to 15 banks, and police are expecting more reports against him when other cheques are due.

Banks that were involved in extending credit facilities to Ramachandran are firm on planning a strategy to recover a total of Dh 550 million owed to them. They are acting together and are considering along with other jewellery groups to take over the branches of showrooms, the report said.

Last week, 15 banks met in Dubai to decide on future strategy and formed a steering committee to press on action.

Most of the staff in the company are said to be from Kerala. A branch manager with the group, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that he did not know the company was in trouble. He said that the company’s head office has asked them to continue the duty.

“Ramachandran is a nice guy. I have been working with this firm for six years without any problem. We always used to get our salaries in time,” he said.

He, however, said that the staff hasn’t been paid the last month’s salary.

“We haven’t received this month’s salary. The headquarters has requested us to manage for a month following which we should be paid our salaries,” he said, adding that he has faith in the company and the CEO and don’t think they will cheat.

He also said that there is nothing in the showroom he is managing as the head office collected all the display material.

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