Yogesh Ashok Variava
HYDERABAD: Leaving several UAE traders in a state of shock, an Indian businessman flew out of Abu Dhabi to Hyderabad in a Vande Bharat flight before they could even realise that they have been duped of three million dirhams (Rs 6.15 crore in Indian currency).
Yogesh Ashok Variava (36) issued cheques for the loans he owed to as many as 40 businessmen, which bounced. By the time they had realised that the post-dated cheques were bouncing and gone to his Royal Luck Foodstuff Trading office to question him, Variava had made good his escape. The conned businessmen lodged a complaint with local police on May 21, but Variava had left the Gulf nation on May 11 itself. His whereabouts are not known yet.
Assuming that Variava had flown down to Hyderabad on May 11, he had completed his mandatory 14-day quarantine period, which got over on May 25.
“We sent a mail to the Telangana police on how Variava had duped several traders. No action has been taken against him yet. We had written a mail before his quarantine period was to end so that he could be caught,” advocate Salam Pappinisseri, who has taken up the case on behalf of some of the aggrieved traders, told STOI on telephone from Sharjah. He said they were weighing legal action against Variava both in India and the UAE.
Variava, who hails from Mumbai, set up his business in Abu Dhabi a couple of years ago.
It remains a mystery as to how Variava was able to fly out on an evacuation flight which was primarily meant to transport Indian nationals stranded abroad and those who needed to fly back to India in emergency conditions.
Accused issued post-dated cheques
When STOI called Vipul, Consul General of India (CGI), Dubai, he could not be reached.
It appears Variava had issued post-dated cheques to the businessmen on different dates. As each one found out that the cheques had bounced, they all had gone to CGI to lodge a complaint against him. His office was shut down when they went and all their 18 staffers had also disappeared, it is learnt. A business owner said he visited Royal Luck’s office after his cheque of 79,552 dirhams returned marked insufficient funds, following which he filed a police complaint.
Variava purchased several items in bulk from various sellers to run his business, sources said. He bought items like frozen Indian beef, orange valencia fruits, rice, nuts, facial tissues and maxi roll, fresh fruits, face mask, dates, oil, tahina (product made from sesame seeds) and halawa (byproduct of tahina).
He also purchased Amul ghee, milk, french fries, mozzarella cheese, sunflower oil, gloves and masks, sanitisers, medical masks, luxury dates, 3,000 kg of plastic garbage bags, chicken, oil, pistachio, tuna and saffron. These items were supplied to Variava by 33 traders, sources quoting a list prepared by some of the duped businessmen said. Meanwhile, the Dubai police are investigating into the complaint lodged against Variava.