Maria had allegedly promised agency air tickets for 1,200 Haj pilgrims through her Mumbai firm

Kannada actress Maria Susairaj arrested for allegedly defrauding 1200 Haj pilgrimsImage: Maria Susairaj screengrab from Desimad/ Youtube
news Friday, October 09, 2015 - 10:26

Kannada actress Maria Susairaj has been arrested for an alleged fraud of Rs. 2.11 crore by cheating 1200 Haj pilgrims for whom her Mumbai-based travel firm failed to produce air tickets.

35-year-old Maria, who was convicted in the 2008 Neeraj Grover case, has been arrested by the Ahmedabad Crime Branch based on a complaint filed by Vadodara-based travel agency La-Raib Tours.

According to a Bangalore Mirror report, Maria had allegedly promised agency air tickets for 1,200 Haj pilgrims through her Mumbai firm. However, she failed to produce the tickets, the complaint stated.

Maria, who was jailed in 2008 for three years for aiding the destruction of evidence during the trial of Neeraj Grover murder case, is a resident of Banimantap, Hanumantnagar in Mysuru. Maria has claimed that she is being wrongly trapped for helping her friend.

Speaking to Bangalore Mirror, the actress said the prime accused in the case, Paromita Chakraborty, was a friend who she was meeting after a long time. “Since I had not seen Vadodara before, I decided to accompany her to a business trip there last year,“ she said, alleging that a former television journalist identified as Iqbal had threatened her lawyer in Ahmedabad, where she went to meet her to get the matter settled.

Maria met Paromita while she was in Byculla Jail till July 2011.

According to the Bangalore mirror, Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) initiated action against the actress following a complaint lodged by Zaid Ashfaq, owner of La-Raib Tours and Travels located in Panigate area of Vadodara on June 6, 2015.

Ashfaq’s complaint stated that he had been duped by Maria Susairaj and partner Paromita Chakraborty and swindled of an amount of Rs 2.11 crore.

BM quoted Rahul Patel, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Cyber Cell, DCB) as saying, “Maria Susairaj and Paromita had been evading arrest since June 6. We were trying to find Paromita based on her phone number which was hotlisted for tracking. When we found her number active in Naroda, we raided bungalow number A33 where she was likely to meet advocate Rajkumar Chaumal in connection with her anticipatory bail in Gujarat High Court for the same case. A team of DCB headed by Police Inspector V J Rathod reached Chaumal's bungalow for Paromita and instead found Maria Susairaj.” Paromita is still absconding, said cops.

Maria, however, seemed to be very calm and argued legalities while speaking with DCB officials, told a source to BM on condition of anonymity.

Maria reportedly sought anticipatory bail twice, once at the Vadodara Sessions Court in September and then at the Gujarat High Court on Wednesday, but it was rejected both times.