Mohamed Rafeek received 808 grams of gold jewels, a Rolex watch worth 15,000 SGD, a platinum ring worth 3,200 SGD and 5,000 SGD cash as dowry in his second marriage.

Protest by Ameer Nisha's family
news Crime Tuesday, June 21, 2022 - 14:14

Earlier this month in Thoothukudi, a group of family members gathered together in the front of the district collector’s office staging a protest. They were holding pictures of a young man in uniform and were demanding action against him. The picture belonged to Mohamed Rafeek Abdul Kader, an Indian origin man and an Assistant Superintendent of Police in Singapore. The protesting family – that of his ex-wife named Ameer Nisha – were demanding action from the police to return cash and valuables which Mohamed Rafeek had been given during the marriage, but failed to return after he divorced the woman. Incidentally, Rafeek’s marriage with Nisha was his second one, and he had allegedly followed the same pattern in his first marriage.

The parents of two women he married, alleged that Rafeek received dowries worth thousands of dollars to marry the two women and then divorced them, but did not return the cash and valuables. On June 20, Ameer Nisha's father, Samsudeen approached the Tamil Nadu DGP to file a complaint against Rafeek, on behalf of the two families. Rafeek’s first marriage was with Thaslema, a Thiruvarur native, whom he divorced within a year. Later, he married Ameer Nisha of Thoothukudi, and divorced her too. In both marriages, he kept all the jewellery and money the girls' parents gave him during the wedding.  According to the kin of the ex-wives, Rafeek tried to have his third marriage arranged during his recent visit to Thiruvarur.

Mohamed Rafeek who originally hails from Palaya Needamangalam of Thiruvarur, moved to Singapore along with his family and obtained citizenship. In 2016, Rafeek’s family fixed his alliance with 19-year-old Thaslema, a resident of Athikkadai, Thiruvarur.

Grand wedding and hefty dowry

The marriage was registered with Thiruvarur Jamaat (local Muslim council) and the wedding took place in Singapore. According to Thaslema's younger brother Sahul Hameed, the bride's family alone gave Rafeek 808 grams of gold. Besides, relatives and family members of Thaslema gave him expensive wedding gifts. Speaking to the TNM, Sahul said, “We arranged a small reception ceremony at the VRN marriage hall in Koradacheri, where we registered our family details and the amount of dowry we gave to Rafeek. Initially, we gave them gold jewels but they demanded white gold. Later, we replaced a few jewels with white gold. In India, for reception and engagement, we spent around Rs 5 to 6 lakh. For marriage, we spent around 30,000 SGD (Singapore Dollars) in Singapore.” 

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Sahul related how Thaslema was isolated when she moved to Singapore. She was not allowed to talk to her family regularly and managed to speak to them once a week or twice a month in the presence of her mother-in-law. She was not allowed to meet their uncle who was in Singapore at that time. After three months of married life, Thaslema returned home to complete her BBA final year exams. She extended her stay in India, when her exams were postponed. “During that time, Rafeek sent her the divorce notice. When we questioned him about the reasons behind the divorce, he said my sister did not know how to cook and alleged that she was in a relationship with someone else,” Sahul said.

“The Singapore court granted them divorce in 2017, but he kept all the jewels and valuables that were given during the wedding. We appealed from India and the court has asked us to file a case in civil court to get the jewels back. But my sister is not a Singapore citizen and her visa got cancelled right after the divorce. It was quite hectic for her and my father to travel up and down to Singapore to get the cash and valuables from him by using a visiting visa which is valid for 30 days only. The settlement was still ongoing, but he used the jewels that we gave to him as a mohr in his next marriage,” he further added. In Muslim marriages, mohr is a payment that has been given to the bride by the groom.

Rafeek’s second marriage and harassment

While Thaslema and her family members were trying to resolve the issue, Rafeek and his family members found another match for him. Rafeek and Ameer Nisha, a resident of Grace Puram, Thoothukudi were married on January 26, 2020 in Singapore. The marriage was registered with the local Jamaat in Tamil Nadu. He received 808 grams of gold jewels, a Rolex watch worth 15,000 SGD, a platinum ring worth 3,200 SGD, and 5,000 SGD cash as dowry. Her family members spent around 40,000 SGD for this marriage. Ameer Nisha's new life in Singapore started with a lot of new dreams but over a period, she was restricted from going out and speaking to her family members in India.

"He said he will give 320 grams of gold as mohr and demanded 800 grams of gold jewels as dowry. We did everything they asked and the marriage was held in Singapore. Within a month, he beat Ameer Nisha and started to physically assault her often and communication with my daughter became a one-way communication," said Ameer Nisha's father Samsudeen. After the assault, Ameer Nisha left the house and started living with her sister, who also resides in Singapore.

Mohamed Rafeek and Ameer Nisha's wedding
Mohamed Rafeek and Ameer Nisha's wedding.

Around this time, her family found out about his behaviour during his first marriage and also that he had falsified his year of birth. Four months later, Rafeek convinced her to come back. Nisha went back hoping he would have changed, but things took a turn for the worse. Samsudeen related how his daughter had to eat her meals with the maid, while the rest of the family ate at the dining table. During phone calls, she would not utter a word, but only listen to what her family spoke, as Rafeek would monitor all their calls.

“We had no clue what was going on and I asked my relative to check on her. He went to the house to find she was unhealthy and mentally traumatised. My other son-in-law asked Rafeek to allow Ameer Nishaa to stay with them in Singapore, but Rafeek refused to send her there, but insisted that she go to India instead. I travelled to Singapore to meet my daughter in January 2021. During my quarantine period, I tried to contact my daughter, but calls to her, to Rafeek and to the house all went unanswered,” Samsudeen explained.

He then took the help of local Jamaat members in Singapore to set up a meeting with Rafeek and his family. His family then asked Samsudeen to take Ameer Nisha back to India to improve her health as she was weak and severely malnourished. Ameer Nisha only took her passport with her and had to leave behind her jewellery, dresses and other valuable gifts that were given as dowry. She moved to her sister’s house where she began receiving treatment for her malnourishment. After several discussions, Rafeek only sent back her dresses and within weeks, he sent her a divorce notice. Now Ameer Nisha lives in Singapore and is legally fighting to get her jewellery back. She has also filed a complaint of harassment against Rafeek with the Singapore police. The Indian embassy in Singapore, which has received complaints from both the ex-wives families, has also reached out to the Singapore government in this regard.

Kin of ex-wives stop a third alliance

Rafeek cannot get married in Singapore now as the families of his ex-wives have complained against him with the Singapore’s Registry of Marriages. So he travelled back to India, to marry another girl from Madukkur of Thanjavur. Relatives of Thaslema came to know about his visit to India and informed Samsudeen too. "I was in Singapore and Thaslema's father was in Dubai when we came to know about his arrival to Tamil Nadu. We flew back here and approached the Jamaat to resolve the issue. But Rafeek was not ready to meet us and Jamaat asked us to file the complaint at the police station. We tried to file the complaint with Palaya Needamangalam police station, but police officials from the station directed us to Thiruvarur all-women police station. Meanwhile, two days later, Rafeek and his mother left Palaya Needamangalam and returned to Singapore. We don’t know where they stayed and how they managed to escape," Samsudeen said. 

According to Samsudeen, Rafeek met Samsudeen’s son-in-law and promised him that he would return all the jewels and valuables. Family members of Rafeek, who live in Thiruvarur did not respond to queries by TNM. As per The Straits Times, he denied all the allegations and has said the families of his ex-wives are trying to tarnish his reputation and get more money from him. He has also made a counter allegation saying that his two ex-wives attempted to kill him on his previous visit to India. Responding to the allegation, Samsudeen said, "All we wanted was to talk with him. His relatives never let us enter their house at all. We waited for some time, but he never came out of the house. Later, as per Jamaat's advice, we approached the police station. If he says we tried to attack him, why didn't he complain to the police station that is situated within a kilometre from the house?"

The families have found it an expensive proposition to hire lawyers in Singapore to fight their case. According to advocate Sudha Ramalingam, they do have avenues to pursue the case in India. "Since both women are Indian nationals, they could file the case under the Dowry Prohibition Act and criminal breach of trust," she advised. The office of the DGP which has received the complaint from both the families, can also forward it to CB-CID, which is the nodal agency for cases that involve foreign nationals.

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