A former bank manager, wanted in fraud case involving millions of rupees and arrested in Sadiqabad three months ago, was taken to City police station on a remand on Wednesday that was granted in the case registered two years ago.
Judicial Magistrate Sahib Gul heard the case. City Police Station House Officer Syed Jamshad Ali Shah said that the accused needed to be taken to the police station for further investigation.
Investigation Officer Owais Bashir said that Athar Lodhi, a resident of Bahawalpur, had been missing for more than two years after extorting millions of rupees from his friends, colleagues and neighbours.
He said Lodhi had won confidence of many by claiming to be a revered spiritual leader of Chishtian.
The IO said besides working at a bank in Rahim Yar Khan near Ghalla Mandi, Lodhi had an overseas recruitment agency. He had been promising to get people jobs in Dubai for as much as Rs200,000 each. He said Lodhi had received millions of rupees from the people in the area without getting anybody jobs.
He had also told some people that he was investing in a land in Cholistan and invited them to join him, the IO said.
“He took money from the people and gave them post-dated cheques drawn on his bank account,” he said.
In the same time, the IO said, Lodhi was fired from his job at the bank for alleged negligence. However, he concealed the fact from the lenders.
“He collected nearly Rs30 million and moved to Bahawalpur,” the IO said.
Some people contacted him there, but he gave them further dates promising them that he would repay them.
“Then he left Bahawalpur, changed his cell phone number and went missing.”
Lodhi was finally arrested in Sadiqabad over a Rs5.3 million bogus cheque given to Dr Muhammad Ali Bukhari, a neurosurgeon in Rahim Yar Khan. Dr Bukhari told The Express Tribune that he had lent Lodhi more than Rs12.5 million. He said Lodhi had given him a Rs5.3m cheque that was returned by the bank.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2012.