Thushar can go home: UAE court

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Reprieve for SNDP leader who was forced to remain in UAE since Aug. 21

A court in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday extended temporary relief to Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP) vice president Thushar Vellappally, who was forced to remain in the Gulf country since August 21 after the Dubai police arrested him on the charge of financial fraud.

The court had impounded Mr. Vellappally’s passport and denied him leave to exit the UAE after a non-resident Keralite businessman implicated him in a dishonoured cheque case.

The judge has restored Mr. Vellappally’s passport and allowed him to depart the country for home for now. Mr. Vellappally, who is also president of the Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) and convener of the Bharathiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Kerala, had vehemently contested the charges raised against him by his former business partner.

The case against Mr. Vellappally was that his construction company, now defunct, had not honoured cheques issued to its subcontractors in 2009 period.

The complaint

The petitioner, a trained engineer and Non-Resident Keralite from Thrissur, had filed a complaint in court stating that Mr. Vellappally’s now-defunct construction company owed him ₹20 crore. He submitted as “proof” two cheques purportedly signed by Mr. Vellappally.

The court issued a warrant, and the UAE police arrested Mr. Vellappally dramatically when he landed at the Dubai airport. The out-of-the-blue arrest set-off ripples in Kerala politics, with the Opposition faulting Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for “using his office” to help Mr. Vellappally.

It also caused relations to strain within the State NDA, with the BDJS accusing that their leading alliance partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party, had done little to help Mr. Vellappally.

The politician and son of SNDP Yogam general secretary Vellappally Natesan had to spend a day at a detention centre in Ajman till a businessperson from Kerala bailed him out by posting a surety of ₹1 crore in UAE currency on August 22.

Later developments

Soon, evidence, including mobile phone conversations, emerged that the accuser had allegedly procured Mr. Vellappally’s cheque illegally and claimed an excessive amount falsely. Mr. Vellappally called the accuser’s claim a lie and said the cheques were more than a decade old.

Mr. Natesan expressed his relief and thanked the Chief Minister, Central government, and NRI businessman Yusuf Ali, for their help.

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