Nurse recruitment scam prime accused arrested in Kerala

Varghese Uthup
The CBI on Wednesday morning arrested the the key accused M Varghese Uthup here at Kochi.

Kochi, March 29: Two years after the Rs 200 crore nurse recruitment scam surfaced in Kerala, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday morning arrested the looting key accused M Varghese Uthup here.

After being picked up when he alighted from an Abu Dhabi flight here at Nedumbassery International Airport, Varghese Uthup told the media that he will reveal everything at the appropriate time.

The 50-year-old man who was stay put in Kuwait and moving to other Gulf countries to evade the arrest, had no other option but to surrender after the Kerala High Court and the Supreme Court earlier rejected his anticipatory bail plea.

Varghese Uthup has been charged with cheating, conspiracy with a public servant to commit criminal misconduct, and collection of excess service charge from emigrants.

His Kochi-based firm Al Zarafa Travel and Man Power Consultant has allegedly been recruiting nurses to Kuwait and instead of collecting a service charge of Rs 19,500 only, it was taking Rs 19.5 lakh.

According to media reports, the firm has recruited around one thousand nurses during the year 2014-15.

Trouble started for Varghese Uthup, who hails from Kottayam, when an Income Tax Department (IT) raid at his recruitment agency here in 2015 found huge sums of unaccounted money.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) stepped in after a nurse who had paid fees to the firm but decided not to take up the job alleged that she did not get her money back.

According to her, she approached the Protector of Emigrants (PoE) L. Adolfus Mathew for help, but got a cold response.

Adolfus, the first accused in the case, was earlier arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and is out on bail.