Back in October 2018, when investigators arrived at her doorstep to arrest her in New Delhi, the 44-year-old “soft spoken” Nowhera Shaik, had a request: “‘Please arrest me after two days as I have got an appointment with a top Congress leader”.
The sleuths however, took her into custody and brought her to Hyderabad. Thereafter, during several rounds of questioning, Ms Shaik, managing director of the Heera Group, has not uttered a word about her deals. Now, almost five months later the TS police is mulling handing over the case to the CBI.
But the glitch seems to be a political party that is reportedly coming in the way of the CBI taking over, for reasons that also remain a mystery to many, just like Nowhera Shaik.
Ms Shaik will be questioned yet again by investigators next week, once they obtain her custody. She will be confronted with her most trusted aides, Molly Thomas and Biju Thomas, in the hope that some contradictions may surface in their testimonies.
Sources disclosed to Deccan Chronicle that ever since Nowhera Shaik’s arrest, all that the police have learnt so far is this: 1) That she was running a Ponzi like scam by attracting huge deposits 2) The scam is to the tune of Rs 5,700 crore with deposits made by nearly two lakh people 3) She has about 200 bank accounts through which she was reportedly carrying out her shady deals. Her turnover in 2017-18 alone stood at Rs 900 crore, and in all her business ventures, she was making a profit of about 90 per cent 4) there were foreign currency deposits to the tune of Rs 250 crore in her accounts and 5) most importantly, she is also believed to have links with, and involved in, financing some banned outfits linked to terrorism, information of which was passed on to the National Investigating Agency.
While all her properties across the country have been attached, investigators are struggling to get more information on her properties abroad, particularly in the UAE, and her bank accounts there.
“Each time she was questioned, she did not utter a word and so far she has not shared anything with regard to her deals. There are 40 cases against her nationwide and agencies like SFIO, Enforcement Directorate, NIA and police of various states are working on the case. But the case is too big and she continues to be a mystery. Only the CBI can probe a case of this magnitude and discussions are going on (to hand over the case to the central agency),’’ a senior official told this newspaper, adding that this is a case as complex in nature as the Nirav Modi case.
While the Telangana state police appears determined to hand over the case to the CBI, a particular political party, which is considered close to the ruling TRS, is reportedly coming in the way of the proposal.
‘’They want the case to remain with the Hyderabad police, the reasons for which are not known. The reasons appear to be much more than merely political in nature,’’ sources said.
Investigators are now “arming’’ themselves with more questions to be posed to Nowhera Shaik, who is presently in Cherlapally central prison.
Among her two aides, Molly Thomas has proved to be a tough nut to crack. Biju Thomas has also not revealed anything significant so far except pointing at a hard disk containing the number of depositors (close to 2 lakh).