BENGALURU: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has provisionally attached two immovable properties worth Rs 117.87 crore of former horse trainer Michael Floyd Eshwer for allegedly cheating late Edwin Joubert Van Ingen, taxidermist of Maharaja of Mysore.
“The ED action is based on the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chargesheet. The attached assets include two immovable properties — House No. 8/1N6/1, ‘Bissal Munti,’ Hyder Ali Road (Abba Road) Nazarbad Mohalla, Mysuru, and agricultural coffee estate in Wayand in Kerala — around 70 animal trophies and rosewood furniture owned by Eshwer under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA),” stated an ED statement.
In 2017, the CBI had chargesheeted Eshwer for allegedly creating a false adoption deed in his favour after getting a false death certificate of Van Ingen -- a British national, who lived in Mysuru until his death in 2013. He owned vast tracts of land in Mysuru and coffee and tea estates in Wayanad.
Eshwer, who was training horses in Mysuru, had come to know about Va Ingen and the properties held by him, which were gifted by the Maharaja of Mysore for his services.
“Van Ingen was unmarried and old. Eshwer took advantage of his old age and fraudulently took possession of Van Ingen’s property. The ED investigation has revealed that Eshwer in connivance with others had cheated Van Ingen and breached his trust. He had fraudulently acquired two immovable properties from Van Ingen and had projected the said properties as untainted properties thereby committing an offence of money laundering,” stated the ED.
Just before his death, Van Ingen had filed a cheating complaint against Eshwer at Nazarabad police station. That was the beginning of a series of investigations against Eshwer by the local, State and Central enforcement agencies.
In 2014, the Karnataka High Court, while ruling in favour of Eshwar, who had allegedly used false medical certificates, had also ordered to halt the probe.
In 2017, Van Ingen’s relative, Telly Gifford, moved the Supreme Court, which had directed the Karnataka Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to investigate the case. The CID had examined some witnesses in the alleged defrauding of over Rs 500-crore worth properties of Van Ingen, including a reformed don-cum-social-activist regarding the alleged payment that was reportedly made through a bank cheque towards the sale of a portion of Van Ingen’s property to a well-known realty firm as legitimate ‘commission’. The case was later handed over to the CBI.
The CBI had chargesheeted Eshwer under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC); for causing disappearance of evidence (201), wrongful confinement (342), extortion (384), dishonest misappropriation of property (403), criminal breach of trust (406, 409), cheating (420), forgery (465, 468), criminal intimidation by anonymous communication (507), criminal conspiracy (120-B), making a false document (464) and issuing or signing false certificate (197), read with the concerned sections of the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972.