The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday directed the Karnataka Government to furnish a CID report into the alleged defrauding of more than Rs. 500 crore worth properties of taxidermist Edwin Joubert Van Ingen.
A three-Judge Bench presided over by Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked advocate Joseph Aristotle, appearing for the State Government, to bring the enquiry report on record by Apr. 18.
The Apex Court passed its order on a plea by advocate Sanjay M. Nuli, representing Tilly Gifford, who identified herself as the niece of Van Ingen. The Court also said the status quo, already ordered, on the properties including the world famous landmark ‘Bissal Munti House’ in Mysuru and 220 acres of plantation and wildlife trophies of the taxidermist, would remain in operation till the next date of hearing.
The CID inquiry was ordered into the matter, when a plea by Michael Floyd Eshwer, who claimed to be an adopted son, was pending before the Karnataka High Court for quashing an FIR registered against him by Van Ingen with Mysuru’s Nazarbad Police Station on March 2, 2013.
Van Ingen, who died a bachelor at the age of 101 on March 12, 2013, had lodged the FIR against Eshwer alleging cheating, fraud and forgery after he realised that some of his properties were allegedly taken over by Eshwer. Subsequently, the High Court had on June 19, 2014 not only quashed the FIR at the preliminary stage of the investigation on the complaint but also directed the State Government for restoration of possession of the ‘Bissal Munti House’, and 220 acres of plantation and wildlife trophies of the taxidermist with Eshwer.
The Court had also ordered a CID inquiry against the then DCP Basavaraj Malagatti (now retired) and other Police Officers of Nazarbad Police Station.
Eshwer had moved the Court to get the FIR quashed and to prove his credentials as the legal heir of the property. The HC, after hearing the case, ordered that the property be handed back to Eshwer.
Meanwhile, Tilly Gifford challenged the High Court order contending that the properties cannot be transferred to Eshwer’s name without permission from the RBI since Van Ingen was a British national.
Speaking to Star of Mysore this morning, Michael Floyd Eshwer expressed confidence that justice would be served to him as he had not done any fraud.
“The properties including the bungalow and estate were registered in my name in the year 2005 and 2006 at Sub-Registrar’s Offices in Mysuru and Manandawadi in Kerala respectively. In fact, it was Van Ingen himself who had accompanied me to get the properties registered in my name. People had filed a false case against me only to extract money,” he added.