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Posing as UAE royal staff, man stayed in Leela for months, left without paying bills worth over Rs 2.3 lakh

Posing as UAE royal staff, man stayed in Leela for months, left without paying bills worth over Rs 2.3 lakh

Delhi police are looking for a man who posed as a resident of the United Arab Emirates and an employee of the Abu Dhabi royal family and allegedly stayed at the Leela Palace Hotel in the capital for more than four months and left without paying. Bills ran into the hundreds of thousands of rupees. Police have identified the man as Md Sharif on charges of impersonation and theft.

Police said Sharif stayed at the five-star hotel from August 1 to November 20 last year and left without informing anyone. The man was also suspected of stealing silverware and other items from the hotel room, the police said, adding that he owed the hotel Rs 2.3-2.4 lakh. Hotel management filed a lawsuit against Sharif on Saturday.

According to the complainant, Sharif told the hotel authorities that he lived in the UAE and worked at the office of Sheikh Farah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a member of the royal family of Abu Dhabi. Police said he presented a fake business card, UAE resident card and other documents and is currently being checked. The complainant stated that the defendant lived in room 427 of the hotel for several months. “One of our in-house guests… fled the hotel on 20th November 2022 with valuables and failed to settle his outstanding bill…and defrauded The Leela Palace New delhi Worth INR 23,46,413/- Guests checked into the hotel using fake business cards and impersonating important officials of the Government of the United Arab Emirates,” fir under these circumstances.

Sharif allegedly told hotel staff that he had personally worked with the Sheikh, adding that he was in India on official business. He would speak to staff and tell them about his “work and life in the UAE”. To win their trust, he spoke of the royal family appearing “influential”, police said.

The hotel did not respond to a request for comment.

The total cost of the room and other facilities adds up to Rs 3.5 lakhs. Police said Sharif paid nearly 1.15 lakh rupiah to stay longer at the hotel but left without paying most of the amount. “We don’t think his ID card is genuine and he has no connection to the Abu Dhabi royal family. We are checking to see if he has done this before. He paid part of the bill last August-September and later gave the hotel one A check of Rs 2 million. The check was submitted in November and it was found to be returned due to insufficient funds,” said a senior police officer.

The accused allegedly fled the hotel at around 1pm on November 20. He allegedly stole silverware and a mother-of-pearl tray from the room. “This appears to have been completely pre-planned as we were under the impression that by 22 November 2022 the hotel would have cleared dues via checks submitted by him. This is a clear indication of Mr Sharif’s malice and apparent deceit to the hotel authorities with the intent to…” the complainant said.

Police said they have yet to determine his profile and occupation. “At this stage, it is unclear where the man was staying before coming to the hotel. We are checking CCTV and conducting technical surveillance. He will be arrested soon,” the official said.

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