Kerala leader’s son accused of cheating Dubai firm rejects charges

Khaleej Times, 25-01-2018 09:49:48

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Benoy also borrowed 4.5 million for various business deals in across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, India and Nepal, and did not pay back.

Kerala leader’s son accused of cheating Dubai firm rejects charges

The accused, Benoy, has denied the charges saying it was an old case.

A travel company based in Dubai has accused the son of a senior communist party leader from the south Indian state of Kerala of financial fraud to the tune of Dh7 million.

JAAS Tourism LLC based in Deira has alleged that Benoy Vinodhini Balakrishnan — the son of Kerala’s ruling party CPI-M’s state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan — took bank loans through their account to buy a luxury car and fund his businesses. He fled Dubai without paying back the amount, according to a Malayalam newspaper report.

The explosive accusation has kicked up a political storm in the south Indian state, with opposition parties clamouring for the party leadership to respond to the accusation and order an independent probe.

Speaking to Khaleej Times over the phone from Kerala, Benoy said there was no case against him in Dubai. “The allegations are baseless. I visited Dubai even in November last year. If I had a case against me, how could I go to Dubai and come back? That is proof enough that I don’t have any legal cases pending against me in Dubai,” said Benoy.

According to the written complaint lodged by JAAS’s Emirati owner, Hasan Ismaeel Abdulla Almazrooqi, Benoy used his friendship with Rahul Krishnan, a partner at JAAS, to borrow the cash.

“Binoy Balakrishnan, by means of utilising his liberty in my company through Mr. Rahul Krishnan, borrowed money from our account holding banks for a mortgage loan of Dh313,200 for buying a new Audi, and agreed to pay all EMIs on time,” the complaint read.

Benoy further borrowed Dh4.5 million for various business deals across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, India and Nepal, and did not pay back the money as promised before June 2016, claimed Almazrooqi.

The travel agency also claimed they filed criminal cases with a Dubai court and was advised to seek Interpol help to bring Benoy back to Dubai.

However, Benoy said he had borrowed only Dh3 million from JAAS in 2014, and paid back Dh2 million before 2017. “We were friends. I owned them Dh1 million, and I thought they would give me some more time to settle the dues. Instead, they deposited my security cheque in May 2017, and it bounced.

“I could not reach Rahul Krishnan and, hence, I visited Dubai in May to settle the matter. I went to the Muraqqabat police station and showed them documents to prove that I did not owe JAAS Dh3 million. The case was transferred to the Dubai courts and I had to pay a fine of Dh60,000. That was the end of the matter and the case was closed,” Benoy said.

When Khaleej Times contacted Rahul Krishnan, his phone was switched off.

Political storm

The allegations made by JAAS have put Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his party on the back foot.

Addressing reporters in the state assembly, leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala said they want either Chief Minister Vijayan or the party to respond to the media report.

Benoy’s father, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, a seasoned politician who has held prominent party and ministerial positions, also denied the allegations in the media report.

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