x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Arrest after body dumped in desert

An Indian businessman's body was found in the desert after he vanished a day before his 60th birthday.

AL AIN // A man has been arrested after an Indian businessman's body was found in the desert near Al Ain International Airport, his family said yesterday. Parappurath Moidu vanished on Sunday May 31, a day before his 60th birthday. The mutilated body of the married father-of-four was found on Thursday morning. Relatives said the discovery had followed the arrest. Police refused to give any details about the case, or even confirm the arrest.

The cause of death has yet to be confirmed, but family members said there were multiple wounds to the front and back of his head. Mr Moidu, from the Malappuram district of Kerala, moved to the UAE 38 years ago and ran two restaurants and two grocery stores in Al Ain with his brothers Hamza and Hydros Haji. Hydros Haji said he had been told by Mr Moidu's staff that his brother had been expecting a visitor, with whom he was in talks to open a new canteen for labourers. Relatives said a man from Kerala had been looking for Mr Moidu on the evening of May 31 and the two had been seen getting into a car.

A close friend of the family, Kaludi Moideenkutty, 52, said: "We are all very shocked and sad. "He went missing on Sunday. It was about nine at night, after prayers. He was working in one of the shops and it was very busy. "Somebody came inside and said he wanted to talk to him. He was waiting in a car outside. "The man in the car said he wanted to talk about a new contract." Naresh Suri, the president of Al Ain India Social Centre, said the man had been attempting to negotiate a deal to provide meals to labourers.

He said Mr Moidu had got into the car with the visitor. "That was the last time anyone saw him alive. His phone was switched off and no one could get in touch with him." Mr Moideenkutty added: "The family were very worried and went to the hospitals to see if he had been admitted. Then they went to the police to tell them he was missing. "We did not hear anything for some days and then the police found his body out in the desert, close to Al Ain airport."

Yesterday afternoon family and friends gathered in Al Ain to help with the repatriation of Mr Moidu's body. His wife and children were all in India at the time of his death. Salim Babu, a friend of Mr Moidu, said: "He never hurt anyone, he was almost in semi-retirement, spending time here as much as in India. "At any given time, he carried Dh5,000 [US$1,400] with him and we think that the killer may have struck him for the money."

Referring to Mr Moidu's relationship with the suspect, he said: "We don't know if he knew him or not. "No one had seen him before. He was most certainly not a customer at any of his canteens." chamilton@thenational.ae sbhattacharya@thenational.ae