An MLA and a functionary of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) in Kerala have been booked for allegedly cheating several people who invested in a gold jewelry business run by the two here, police said on Monday. A case had been registered against Majeshwaram MLA M C Kamaruddin and T K Pookoiya Thangal of IUML, a major ally of the opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), under section 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code, police said, adding they suspect a multi-crore fraud.

Kamaruddin sought to reject the allegations as “politically motivated” while senior IUML leader and MP P K Kunhalikutty said it appeared the company had gone bankrupt and the party would look into the matter. The case, registered after over two dozen complaints were received in the Chendera and the Kasaragod police stations, had been handed over to the District Crime Branch.

“We have been informed that there are eight cases registered in two police stations. However, we are yet to receive the files from the local police,” a District Crime Branch official told PTI on Monday. In an apparent damage control move, the UDF removed Kamaruddin from the post of district chairman of the front.

A senior police official said the complaints alleged that the company failed to pay them even after they have paid for the shares. “The complaints show that a fraud of around Rs one crore has happened. But there are many investors who are not willing to approach the police. When considering all those, the amount will go upto over Rs 100 crore,” the official, who requested anonymity, told PTI.

Police were expecting more people to approach the agency with complaints. “Some are reluctant to approach the probe agency as then they will have to explain the source of income for the investment,” the official added. Meanwhile, Kamaruddin told reporters that “the allegations are politically motivated. It’s possible for us to return the money to the investors.” Kunhalikutty, a former minister, said the allegations were serious and the party will take a decision soon.

“The firm has gone bankrupt it seems. It’s not easy for the party to make a decision in this matter. Many commoners have invested in this firm. We will inquire into it and take a decision accordingly,” he told media persons. The state BJP alleged that even though all evidence had been submitted, the police were yet to take action.

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