Accused in advance-fee fraud case registered in 2009

Former Information and Public Relations (I&PR) Director A. Firoz, an accused in an advance-fee fraud case registered in 2009, surrendered before the police here on Thursday.

Suspected financial fraudsters Saritha S. Nair and her associate, Biju Radhakrishnan, were the other accused in the case. The police had arraigned Firoz as an accused in the case in 2010 on the basis of their statements and that of the complainant’s, a builder, and reported the matter to the government. However, the police received no response from the government. Firoz continued in service and did not take bail in the case.

The police also, strangely, did not arrest him in the cheating case. However, Saritha and Biju were arrested and remanded in judicial custody for a period of 90 days, the police investigators said.

The police case was that Firoz had extended “oral and physical support” to Saritha and Biju to cheat the builder of Rs.40 lakh as advance processing fee for a future loan of Rs.20 crore from the Asian Development Bank. They said that Firoz had introduced the duo as strategic advisers and chartered accountants of the bank.

The police said Firoz had met the alleged fraudsters when he was a public relations officer at Kerala House in New Delhi in 2006-07 and that they had paid him commission in money and gold ornaments for giving them a “proper introduction” to influential and rich people. He kept in contact with them through e-mail and mobile phone. Several witnesses have told the police that the three were seen together frequently in the State capital.

Firoz’s associates had informed the media in advance that he would surrender on Thursday after the High Court denied him anticipatory bail in the case.

The media were on a stake-out in front of the Medical College police station here anticipating his arrival. However, he gave them the slip by walking into the police station wearing a helmet amidst a group of people around 2.30 p.m. Assistant Commission K.S. Vimal was questioning the suspect. He would be produced before a magistrate on Friday.

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