Thiruvananthapuram: A Keralite was arrested in Abu Dhabi on Thursday for his alleged involvement in the Rs.200 crore nurse recruitment scam in Kerala, a CBI officer said.
A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officer told a media outlet that M. Varghese Uthup, 48, was arrested by Interpol officers with the help of UAE officials. His name was included in the Interpol’s list of wanted people in July.
“Even though the arrests have been made, there are lots of procedures to be followed before he is actually brought to Kerala. It could even take more than a week for all the formalities to be conducted and only after that will he brought to Kochi, where the case has been registered,” said the CBI official on condition of anonymity.
Uthup’s anticipatory bail was rejected by the Kerala High Court in June, following which the CBI was working with the authorities to seek Interpol’s help.
Uthup runs a travel agency in UAE and ever since he was on the run after failing to appear before the CBI, he was moving between UAE and Kuwait.
After his anticipatory bail was rejected by the Kerala High Court, he is reported to have approached the Supreme Court but the CBI sources here said that they have no idea of such a thing as no notice was served to them.
Uthup has been charged with cheating, criminal conspiracy with a public servant to commit criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act, and collection of excess service charge from emigrants.
Uthup’s Kochi-based recruiting firm is alleged to have been recruiting nurses to Kuwait and instead of collecting a service charge of Rs.19,500, it was collecting Rs.19.5 lakh.
Reports indicate that they have recruited close to 1,000 nurses in the past one year.
Uthup came under scanner two months ago when a raid by the Income Tax department found huge sums of unaccounted money at his recruitment agency in Kochi.
The CBI stepped in after a nurse who had paid fees to the agency but later decided not to take up the job, alleged that she did not get her money back.
She said she approached the Protector of Emigrants (PoE) L. Adolfus for help to get her money back from the recruitment agency but got a cold response.
Adolfus, an accused in the same case, who was arrested by the CBI in June, got bail last month.