Wanted: Wife calls for ex-husband to face Indian court over dowry charge
- Credit: Archant
Our investigations team tracks down the accused and confronts him over allegations in homeland
A husband wanted on serious charges relating to alleged domestic violence and demanding a dowry has “absconded” from his Indian homeland and been living in the UK for the past four years.
The Newham Recorder has tracked down the accused, Ahmed Anees Hussain, and confronted him as to why he has not answered the criminal case in his native India.
We have also passed on our findings to police - but they are powerless to act unless asked to do so by the Home Office, which refuses to comment on the case.
His ex-wife, news presenter Fathima Sumaya Khan, who lived in East Ham, today pleaded with British and Indian authorities to force him to return to his homeland and face the charges.
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When approached by a reporter, Mr Hussain, 37, protested his innocence and claimed he intended to return to India and face up to the accusations within the next 12 months.
The case highlights how easy it can potentially be for those wanted on criminal charges in another country to evade the courts by living in the United Kingdom.
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We were made aware of the case when approached by Ms Khan, who lived in Katherine Road, East Ham for some months during her marriage.
She claims her family has been placed under immense pressure and left in financial ruin because of what happened.
The 32-year-old said: “He’s a person who’s wanted in a serious criminal case in India. So now I believe the UK government has to take action.”
But Mr Hussain said: “I am the victim in this and I am in hell over it. When I get the money I will go back and sort it out and show that I am innocent.”
The Muslim couple had an arranged marriage in Bangalore, now known as Bengaluru, in May 2010, with the consent of Ms Khan, a freelance journalist who has previously worked for some of Bengaluru’s top media companies including as a news presenter.
A week before the wedding, Mr Hussain’s family allegedly demanded expensive gifts and jewellery in payment of dowry, a serious crime in India. This is something he denies.
Ms Khan says her father, a retired high-ranking senior police officer, felt he had no option but to comply and spent almost his entire savings of £14,000 on a lavish engagement party, wedding ceremony and gifts for his future son-in-law’s family.
“My dad was under a tremendous mental pressure,” she said. “This was only done because he thought there was no other way out. He didn’t want to get into any kind of situation where our reputation in society was at stake.”
Shortly after their wedding the couple moved to Norfolk, where Mr Hussain had been living since 2007, and she claims this is when his behaviour worsened, with the police called out to their house several times.
She was classified as being at “medium risk” by police, something which has been confirmed by police documents obtained by the Newham Recorder.
“The worst days of my life began the moment I landed in the UK,” said Ms Khan.
“I was brought up in a very protective environment. I got the best of educations, I worked with some of the best media houses and I always felt safe and happy.
“So when I went through this bad marriage, I was in a state of complete shock. I didn’t know what to do.”
In February 2011 Ms Khan moved to London, which she claims she was forced to do by Mr Hussain in order to seek work, and lived in East Ham and later moved to Ilford.
She returned to Bengaluru in October 2011 and severed contact with her husband, later filing for divorce.
In September 2011, her father went to the Bengaluru police and charges were issued under the Dowry Prohibition Act and Indian Penal Code, against Mr Hussain, as well as his sister and mother.
The sections of the law they are charged under includes accusations of ‘subjecting her to cruelty’, ‘criminal intimidation’ and ‘giving’, ‘taking’ or ‘demanding’ dowry.
In the most serious of cases it can lead to up to seven years imprisonment.
While Mr Hussain’s sister and mother have appeared before the court and been bailed, Mr Hussain has failed to respond to the authorities.
Documents obtained by the Newham Recorder show that Mr Hussain, who lives in a flat near Norwich city centre, is listed by the courts in India as having “absconded” and that a Look Out Circular has been issued against him for each of the last four years.
The Home Office said it was unable to comment on whether extradition proceedings are active, saying “as a matter of long standing policy and practice, the UK will neither confirm nor deny that an extradition request has been made or received, until such time as a person is arrested in relation to the request”.
A Norfolk Police spokeswoman confirmed they had attended domestic incidents at the couple’s marital house previously.
However, they explained they would only act on the current case following instruction from the Home Office, which they had not received.
We contacted the Bengaluru City Police who confirmed the details of the case and the charges, but has not issued extradition proceedings.
We were unable to obtain further comment.
Do you have a story for our new unit to investigate? Contact Emma Youle on 07785 616 237 or email firstname.lastname@example.org