Staff Reporter

Crime Branch says he is in possession of incriminating laptop

Thiruvananthapuram: The Crime Branch is pursuing a 30-year-old lawyer on the charge of tampering with crucial evidence in the Rs.100-crore Inest Investments financial fraud case.

Investigators identified him as Aveesh of Nanthancode. They suspect he is in possession of one of the seven expensive laptop computers owned by financial fraud suspect and Inest owner Sabarinath. The police have also accused him of ransacking the office of Inest at Chalakuzhy at the behest of Sabarinath and with the intention of destroying evidence.

The police have recovered six of the seven computers. The missing one is believed to contain the details of certain people who had invested large amounts of unaccounted money in Inest in the hope of laundering it. The police said Inest earned large profits by offering a legal business front for investors who wanted to hide the origin of their wealth and show income tax enforcers that it was obtained by ‘investing’ in a ‘highly successful’ share and commodity trading company.

Investigators said Sabarinath operated seven accounts at Dhanalakshmi Bank’s Vazhuthacaud branch alone. The accounts showed deposits and withdrawals amounting to crores of rupees. They have arrested bank official Hemalatha in connection with the case. The police said the daily collection from the various offices of Inest was brought in jute sacks to Hemalatha’s house. Her daughter, Lakshmi Mohan, airhostess and classmate of Sabarinath, is also an accused in the case.

Law enforcers said Hemalatha and her daughter profited hugely from Sabarinath’s business. Sabarinath lacked a proper accounting system and he himself was cheated by his associates. Many of his staff claimed large amounts of money as commission for deposits that were never made. Some stole blank Inest deposit certificates and used them to withdraw money from the company’s accounts.

The agency is also pursuing the elusive Chandramathi Amma and Pramod K. Isaac, the most important suspects in the case. The court had rejected their pleas for anticipatory bail.

Investigators said Chandramathi was the brain behind Sabarinath’s business. The police said she had prompted Sabarinath to receive deposits from the public by offering a high dividend and under the pretext of using that money for making highly profitable investments guaranteeing astronomical returns. She was managing the company almost singlehandedly till the time she fell out with Sabarinath. The government has suspended Chandramathi from her post as manager of SIDCO, a public firm.

Scores of depositors told investigators that they had invested huge sums of money in the firm on the basis of Chandramathi’s assurances. Pramod K. Isaac had entered Inest solutions as a security guard and soon rose in the ranks of the company to become Sabarinath’s trusted second man.

Investigators said Pramod had escaped with a sizeable sum of money before the company collapsed. They believe his arrest will prove crucial to the case. The Crime Branch said it would confiscate the expensive houseboat Bindu Mahesh, a suspect, had ordered built for herself in Alappuzha.