Sabarinath who had jumped bail in 2011, gave himself up at a magistrate’s court
At noon on Monday, a tall lanky man dressed in a Hindu pilgrim’s attire surrendered before a magistrate court here, ending a three-year wild goose chase for one of Kerala’s most wanted economic offenders.
Sabarinath, accused of duping hundreds of citizens into investing their life savings, an estimated Rs.50 crore, in his ‘paper’ companies (Total 4 U and I Nest), had appeared before the law, apparently on his own, for the first time since jumping bail and disappearing from public view in 2011.
The police case against him was that he had promised his investors unusually high dividends in a minimal gestation period for their deposits and used the proceeds to fund a luxurious lifestyle.Pilgrimage
He told the magistrate that he was on a pilgrimage to holy places in North India and feared for his life. He prayed that he be accommodated at the Central Prison and not the district jail reserved for undertrials. The court remanded him in judicial custody.
Sabarinath’s disappearance had caused quite a public uproar and fuelled several conspiracy theories, including tacit official connivance. His investors cried foul and accused the law enforcement of doing little to arrest him.
A year after Sabarinath vanished, policemen who regularly worked as summons servers for the court were baffled when they were unable to find two guarantors who had stood as bail sureties for an accused in a currency counterfeiting case registered in 1998.
They unravelled the mystery when they found that the two guarantors regularly stood as guarantors for criminal case accused by using multiple identities, fake election cards with fictitious names and addresses and forged revenue documents (title deeds and property tax receipts) for a considerably high fee.
Among their clients were Sabarinath, who, according to a police report given to the court, had used the fake documents and fictitious guarantors provided by the racketeers to secure bail in at least nine cases registered against him.
Crime Branch investigators denied that they were unenthusiastic about arresting Sabarinath and said that they had tracked him till Badarinath by analysing the mobile phone usage patterns of some of his relatives and friends.
The agency had charge-sheeted the case and attached the properties the accused had acquired, including a fleet of expensive cars and large farmhouses, using the money of investors.
A court appointed receiver administered the properties and some of the movable assets, including cars, have been auctioned and proceeds deposited in a treasury account to compensate the victims once the case was over.Recovered
The agency had also recovered nearly Rs.3 crore the suspects had lodged in small banks.
The Enforcement Directorate has registered a separate case against Sabarinath on the charge of using fake deposit certificates, purportedly issued by a new-generation private bank as a proof of his solvency to persuade his customers to invest in his ‘share and commodity sharing firms.’
He also allegedly did not have Reserve Bank of India sanction to collect deposits from the public.