x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Dubai Police deny catching Dh9.5bn fraud suspect

Police in Dubai have denied an assertion by Indian authorities that a fugitive from that country has been arrested in the emirate.

DUBAI // Dubai Police have denied reports from New Delhi that an Indian fugitive, alleged to have been involved in a Dh9.5 billion fraud, has been arrested in the emirate.

Sanjay Kumar Choudhary is wanted in India for alleged involvement with Madhu Koda, the former chief minister of the state of Jharkhand, in the fraud.

India's top investigation agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), said Mr Choudhary had been tracked down in Dubai, less than a month after an Interpol notice was issued.

The bureau in New Delhi said it was now taking steps to extradite him from the Emirates.

But Dubai Police said an arrest had not been made.

"The Indian authorities have inquired about this person from us but we have not arrested him," said Brig Khalil Al Mansouri, the head of Dubai CID.

"If he was arrested there would be no reason for us to hide it."

Brig Al Mansouri said police had been surprised New Delhi "would announce something which is not true".

Mr Choudhary is accused of conspiring with Mr Koda to receive bribes totalling 130 million rupees (Dh9.5 million) from a Mumbai company for granting an iron-ore mining lease in West Singhbhum.

He is facing trial after the CBI filed a charge sheet against him last November in a court in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand, under sections of the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act.

"Choudhary has definitely been arrested, we have that confirmed," said Dharini Mishra, the CBI spokeswoman in New Delhi. "He is in police custody in Dubai.

"Now our embassy will take up his extradition with the Dubai authorities. He was arrested within a month of Interpol issuing the RCN [a red corner notice, issued to seek the arrest of wanted persons with a view to extradition]."

But Dubai Police will now contact Indian authorities to clarify why they had released information "that could cause an embarrassment to both parties", Brig Al Mansouri said.

Mr Koda, who is in Delhi's high-profile Tihar prison, served as chief minister for two years from 2006.

In 2009, he was charged with money laundering, disproportionate assets and tax evasion.

Mr Choudhary is accused of having helped the former minister to route money to several foreign countries.

The Indian Consulate would not comment on the arrest, citing security reasons.

pkannan@thenational.ae

wissa@thenational.ae

* With additional reporting by Ramola Talwar Badam