In a shocking incident, a 36-year-old Mumbai based businessman allegedly duped several 50 traders in UAE and fled to Hyderabad on a repatriation flight arranged by the Indian government under the Vande Bharat Mission to bring back stranded Indians on foreign soil amid the viral pandemic.

Yogesh Ashok Yariava, the prime accused in the fraud, flew from Abu Dhabi to Hyderabad on a Vande Bharat repatriation flight on May 11 with around 170 evacuees, the Gulf News reported.

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Yariava, the 36-year-old owner of the fraudulent Royal Luck Foodstuff Trading, made bulk purchases worth 6 million dirhams (USD 1.6 million) against post-dated cheques from unsuspecting traders before fleeing to India, the daily said.

He bought goods included facemasks, hand sanitisers, medical gloves (worth nearly 5,00,000 dirhams), rice and nuts (3,93,000 dirhams), tuna, pistachios and saffron (3,00,725 dirhams), French fries and mozzarella cheese (2,29,000 dirhams), frozen Indian beef (2,07,000 dirhams) and halwa and tahina (52,812 dirhams).

The list of items and defrauded persons keeps getting longer as more and more victims come forward, the report said. The aggrieved traders have filed a case with the Bur Dubai police station.

The traders said when the dud cheques started bouncing they rushed to the Royal Luck's office in Dubai but the shutters were down, even the fraudulent company's warehouses were empty.

Telangana Police receives complaint from UAE 

On May 21, the defrauded traders approached the local police and filed a complaint against Variava. While speaking to TOI over a phone call, advocate Salam Pappinisseri, who is representing the aggrieved traders, said that they have sent an email to the Telangana Police.

In the email, an account of how Variava conned several traders has been given. However, no action has been taken against him. The aggrieved traders are planning to seek legal action against him in the UAE as well as India.