KASARGOD: After nine months on the run, Sunni leader and MD of scam-hit Fashion Gold T K Pookoya Thangal surrendered before a court in Kanhangad on Wednesday. His business partner and IUML leader M C Kamaruddin, the then MLA of Manjeshwar and chairman of the firm, was arrested on November 7 last year and got bail after spending 96 days in prison in connection with the `140-crore deposit scam perpetuated by the company.
Thangal and his son A P Hisham, the company’s director, had gone into hiding the day Kamaruddin was arrested. Hisham is still absconding.Thangal surrendered before the Hosdurg Judicial First Class Magistrate Court-II, said K K Moideenkutty, Crime Branch SP for Kannur and Kasaragod. He said Thangal surrendered after the Crime Branch pressured his family.
“We searched for him at several places but could not find him. We pressured his family and he surrendered,” he said. The Crime Branch, which has been facing flak for the slow progress of the probe, will seek Thangal’s custody for interrogation.Thangal’s mother had died when he was on the run. However, he did not turn up for the funeral. Meanwhile, Moideenkutty said Hisham is believed to have fled to the Gulf.
He said around 162 depositors have pressed charges of cheating against Kamaruddin, Thangal and other directors of Fashion Gold which took deposits under four companies. The companies illegally raised money to the tune of `140 crore from the public by promising returns at 12% to 14% interest rates.
The jewellery store started defaulting on repayment after the Centre demonetised high-value currency notes in November 2016. In August 2020, three depositors pressed cheating charges against Kamaruddin. Later, more depositors came forward and accused Kamaruddin and Thangal of duping them of their savings.
Kamaruddin and Thangal, using their social capital as political and religious leaders, ran a collective investment scheme (CIS), which means raising money from more than 50 persons. However, to run a CIS, companies need the approval of SEBI, which Fashion Gold did not have, said the police.