Police are searching for a man who pretended to be a significant member of the United Arab Emirates royal family during his four-month stay at a five-star hotel in Delhi and then left without paying more than Rs 23 lakh in bills, according to police on Tuesday.
On August 1st of last year, the accused, Mahamed Shareef, had checked into the Leela Palace-New Delhi. They claimed he left the hotel while occupying room 427 on November 20.
In addition to defrauding the hotel of Rs 23.46 lakh in unpaid bills, he allegedly fled with valuables, according to the police, including silver bottle holders and a mother-of-pearl tray.
According to authorities, Shareef entered the hotel by posing as a significant member of the UAE government’s “Office of His Highness Sheikh Falah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan” and presenting a phoney business card. They claimed that upon checking into the hotel, he also presented a UAE residence card.
The hotel management said, “It seems the guest purposely gave these cards to create a false image and garner extra trust with an intent to cheat and deceive the hotel at a later stage. The guest had also made a few part settlements in the month of August and September 2022 worth 11.5 lakhs for room charges, the total outstanding still stands at Rs 23,48,413 against which he had issued a post-dated cheque worth Rs 20 lakhs due for November 21, 2022, which was duly submitted to our bank on September 22, 2022, but due to insufficient funds the cheque bounced.”
A senior police official claimed that on November 20 of last year, at 1 pm, the man left the hotel with items. This clearly signifies that “Mr Shareef had malafide intentions and a clear intent to deceive hotel authorities. This is a clear case of theft, cheating and fraud against The Leela Palace, New Delhi,” the complaint stated.
Footage from CCTV cameras, installed inside and outside the hotel’s premises, is being checked to ascertain Shareef’s activities, the official said. “Multiple teams have been formed to trace the accused man. We have not been able to establish his occupation yet and are working to gather his personal details. We have put his phone number on surveillance to get his last location.”