Accountant, volunteer taken into custody

Even as the hundreds of Haj pilgrims are already in a fix over the uncertainty of their pilgrimage, nine among them received a rude shock on Wednesday when they came to know that some officials of the Karnataka State Haj Committee (KSHC) have allegedly cheated them by giving fake bank receipt after collecting Rs. 9 lakh from them.

Khadar Basha (55), a Davangere native, lodged a complaint with the Bharathinagar Police charging Ibrahim, an accountant with the KSHC, other employees, and Azeez, a volunteer from Davangere, with fraud.

According to the police, Azeez collected about Rs. 9 lakh from Mr. Basha and eight others assuring them that their Haj pilgrimage will be confirmed. He had also given a receipt bearing the seal of State Bank of India, Race Course Road Branch, Bangalore, as proof of remitting the amount to the KSHC, the police said.

However, the nine, who reached the city along with their baggage on Wednesday, found that their travel schedule was not confirmed. A visit to the bank branch revealed that neither had it received any such payment nor had it issued any receipt.

Later the victims took the matter to Muyeenuddin, Member, Bangalore District Wakfs Advisory Committee, and the KSHC top brass.

When contacted, B.B. Ashok Kumar, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Pulikeshinagar sub-division), said Ibrahim and Azeez have been taken into custody for interrogation.