Mohammad Azharuddin, two others booked for cheating travel agent of Rs 21 lakh

Updated: Jan 23, 2020, 07:57 IST | Diwakar Sharma | Mumbai

It has been lodged in Aurangabad against former India captain and two others, for allegedly not paying for international tickets; Azhar says the case is false.

Mohammad Azharuddin. File pic
Mohammad Azharuddin. File pic

Former Indian cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin, his secretary Mujeeb Khan and (Khan's friend) Sudheesh Avikkal, have been booked for cheating an Aurangabad-based travel agent of almost Rs 21 lakh.

A case was registered against them under Sections 420 (cheating), 406 (Criminal breach of trust) and 34 (common intention) of Indian Penal Code at City Chowk police station in Aurangabad on Wednesday. Azharuddin claimed the case against him was false.

'Travel agent not paid'
The complainant, Shahab Mohammad, told mid-day that Khan booked international return tickets for Azharuddin and Avikkal, but the payment has not been made despite several follow-ups since last November.

"I know Khan for years, as he would often book air tickets for Azharuddin. I never faced an issue in the past. This time Khan asked me to book two tickets to Europe for Azharuddin and Avikkal. They travelled from Mumbai to Dubai, then to Paris on Emirates Airlines on November 9, and returned to Mumbai via Delhi on November 12. The tickets cost R20.96 lakh," said Mohammad, who is a former employee of Jet Airways and started Daanish Tours and Travels after the airlines shut operations.

"I was assured payment for the trip. I received an email from later, saying 50 per cent payment ie 13,500 euros equivalent to R10.50 lakh was transferred from the Croatian National Bank for these tickets to my account. But actually no such amount was credited to my account. I enquired with the Croatian National Bank and they replied to my mail saying no amount was transferred to my account," said Mohammad who started following up with Khan and Azharuddin. "Khan has been ignoring my calls and messages and Azharuddin has blocked my number," he added.

Mohammad then approached City Chowk police station where the case was registered on Wednesday.

Investigating officer PSI Amarnath D Nagre said, "Former Indian cricketer Azharuddin and two others have been booked for cheating a travel agent. We are investigating the matter. If the payment is made in court, they will get immediate relief or else the trio will be arrested."

'Being maligned for no reason'
Khan said the issue is a politically motivated move to malign the image of the former cricketer. "He (Azharuddin) was invited to attend sports events in Dubai and Paris. The tickets were booked as per my request. Avikkal was trying to get the ticket booked with another travel agent who was over charging. So I suggested he get the ticket booked by Shahab Mohammad, who is my childhood friend. Our names are being maligned for no reason," said Khan.

He further claimed that Avikkal had given a cheque of IDBI bank to Mohammad but he did not encash it. "Mohammad said he wanted a demand draft," said Khan, who claimed to have written an email to Avikkal on November 18 requesting him to clear the dues of the travel agent immediately.

Mohammad confirmed that a cheque was given by Avikkal to clear the dues. "The cheque was given at City Chowk police station. I enquired with the bank to ascertain if the account had sufficient balance to credit the amount, R20.95 lakh, mentioned on the cheque. The bank official told me that the amount would not be credited due to insufficient funds. So I requested them to give me a demand draft, which was not given to me," said Mohammad.

An officer at the police station told mid-day that Mohammad wanted the trio booked in a cheating case instead of a cheque bouncing case.

Avikkal, the managing consultant at an infrastructure company, said, "The case has been registered with malafide intention. We did not intend to cheat him. We have all the documentary evidence to prove our claim. My account had sufficient balance. He is trying to manipulate the situation in his favour with wrongful intention."

Azhar says case is false
"The case against me is false. I have nothing to do with the matter. I was requested by Sudheesh to attend a sports event abroad and I agreed. I attended as a celebrity. It is the responsibility of the person who invited me to bear my travel expenditure if I am requested to attend an event. I live in Hyderabad. Why would I get my travel ticket booked by an agent in Aurangabad? I have nothing to do with the travel agent. I never contacted him (Shahab Mohammad) to book my international ticket," Azharuddin told mid-day. "Also, the police should have contacted me before booking me, to seek my clarification. It is very easy to target a celebrity these days. My name is being maligned. I will take serious cognisance of this matter," he added.

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