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Woman charged with cheating stopped from taking India flight


Kuala Lumpur, May 20:

A Malaysian Indian woman executive charged with cheating was stopped from boarding a flight to India by officials who fear she could abscond. Former Maju Institute of Educational Development (MIED) CEO P. Chithirakala had been charged last week with three counts of cheating involving a total of RM 4million ($1.22 million) by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Chithirakala, 39, was about to board the 6.50 p.m. flight Wednesday before she was told by an immigration official that she was not allowed to leave the country.

Upon questioning, she was told that an MACC officer had informed the department not to let her board the plane and that her passport had been withheld.

Relating her experience at KL International Airport to the media, Chithirakala claimed that she had informed the MACC about her plans to travel to India and details of her trip before she was charged last week in the Sessions Court.

She learnt that the MACC had filed an application at the Kuala Lumpur High Court to withhold her passport, "claiming that she had an intention to abscond", The Star quoted her as saying.

"I repeatedly told them (the MACC) of my plans and even gave them a letter on May 10 detailing my travel plans," she said.

Chithirakala also claimed that MACC officer Fikri had told her that she could go overseas as long as she informed them a week before her departure.

On the day she was charged, her lawyer had informed the court of her travel plans and the judge had asked the Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) if the MACC had any intention to withhold her passport.

The DPP said he did not intend to do so and when she contacted the MACC, she was told that the matter was up to the court to decide.

Malaysia is home to 1.7 million ethnic Indians, a bulk of them Tamils who settled here during the British era.

MIED is the education arm of the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) and distributes scholarships to ethnic Indian students.

Chithirakala was close to MIC chief S. Samy Vellu, but the two later fell out.

She made headlines last year when she alleged that the MIC had misappropriated a government allocated fund meant to help the poor in the Indian community.