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ED attaches Rs 117 crore assets of man who conned Mysore Maharaja’s British taxidermist

Mysuru

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached properties valued at Rs 118-crore of Michael Floyd Eshwer in Karnataka’s Mysuru in an alleged money laundering case, an official said on Wednesday.

“The properties measuring 220 acres of land, a palatial house in Mysuru and a coffee estate in Kerala’s Waynad district of Eshwer were attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) 2002 in a cheating case,” ED official Navdeep Singh told in an e-mail statement.

About 70 animal trophies and rosewood furniture of Eshwer were also attached by the law enforcing agency.

Eshwer, a horse trainer, is alleged to have cheated late Edwin Joubert Veningen, a British citizen, who was a taxidermist for the erstwhile Mysuru Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wodiyar (1919-1974). A taxidermist prepares and preserves skins of animals and birds by stuffing and mounting them in a lifelike form.

“Investigation by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Bengaluru, under a Supreme Court order revealed that Eshwer created a false adoption deed in his favour and got a false death certificate of Veningen and fraudulently got the properties transferred in his name,” Singh said.

The ED investigation was based on the charge-sheet the CID filed before the third City Judicial Magistrate in Mysuru under various sections of the IPC (Indian Penal Code) and Sections 51 and 39 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 172.

Prior to his death, Veningen filed a complaint with a local police station in Mysuru while he was residing in India.

The ED, however, did not specify the relevant dates, months and years of the legal action initiated against Eshwer.

Eshwer came to know about Veningen and his properties, which were gifted by Jayachamarajendra for his services when the latter was the Maharaja from 1940-74. Taking advantage of an unmarried, single and an old aged Veningen, Eshwer fraudulently took possession of his properties,” recalled Singh.

Subsequent investigations found that in connivance with other unnamed persons, Eshwer cheated and betrayed Veningan to usurp his properties.

“Eshwer projected Veningen’s immovable properties as untainted and committed offence of money laundering. Further investigation in this case is under progress,” added Singh.

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