International

Indian National Arrested for Defrauding UAE Nationals with False Promises of Haj Pilgrimage

Dubai, Oct 26. An Indian national, aged 44, has been arrested for allegedly deceiving 150 UAE citizens by accepting advance payments totaling over INR 6 crore for the Haj pilgrimage, as per a media report.

The individual in question, Shabin Rasheed, operates the Baitul Ateeq travel agency based in Sharjah and was taken into custody by the Dubai Police earlier this month, according to the Khaleej Times report on Wednesday.

The report states, “Rasheed deceived 150 UAE nationals by making promises of the Haj pilgrimage that were never fulfilled.”

Initially, Rasheed apologized and attributed the issues to a last-minute change in visa issuance. He assured customers of refunds and claimed that the funds from reselling the originally booked accommodations would be returned.

However, as time went on without any refunds and reports of similar incidents from previous years surfaced, many individuals filed complaints against Rasheed, ultimately leading to his arrest.

One Dubai resident, Saquib Imam, who paid Dh20,000 around the same time last year, stated that he has only received Dh5,000 so far.

According to the report, a widow in Sharjah, who gave up Dh130,000 to go on the pilgrimage with her teenage son, only received 13 percent of her funds when she filed a complaint.

The exact number of police complaints filed against the company and the number of partial refunds issued is not immediately clear.

Previously, Rasheed claimed to have refunded 20 individuals, but despite repeated requests from the Khaleej Times, he failed to provide evidence such as names and contact numbers. Those who had paid Baitul Ateeq in 2020 and were unable to perform the Haj due to the COVID-19 pandemic stated that they received nothing but empty promises.

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