The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of NMC Health, which is under investigation for a multi-billion financial fraud, exited the UAE on the first repatriation flight from Abu Dhabi meant for distressed Indians, Khaleej Times has learnt.
A source close to the company confirmed that Suresh Krishnamoorthy and his family - including his wife, twin children and elder son - and housemaid flew out on board the Air India Express flight to Kochi on May 7.
The 'great escape' by Krishnamoorthy and family along with 360-plus Indian expats has raised questions about the transparency and fairness while allotting seats to deserving cases in special flights meant for repatriation. Khaleej Times is awaiting comments from the embassy.
"He sent me a message on Friday morning (the day after the first flight) from Kerala saying he left due to some urgent matters. He said will be back in the UAE in June. He has definitely left the UAE with his whole family," said the company source.
"He would have escaped for sheer fright that the rot has gone too deep and the long hands of law will reach him sooner or later," said the source.
The family is currently in their house in Alappuzha, Kerala and while the elder son is in government quarantine.
Earlier, the Indian ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor told Khaleej Times that the list of passengers is prepared by the embassy on priority basis, and is handed over to Air India.
The list, a copy of which KT has seen, shows that Krishnamoorthy was on seat 16B, while his family members were allotted other adjacent seats. The tickets were booked under PNR number DDUBEV.
The repatriation flights were launched by the government of India on May 7 as part of a mammoth 'Vande Baharath Mission' to bring back stranded Indians. More than 200,000 people from the UAE have registered with the Indian embassy and Indian consulate requesting repatriation on urgent grounds. Terminally ill, jobless, pregnant and those grieving the death of own family members are among the expats desperately waiting for their chance to fly home.
While how six members of a family wiggled their way out on a special flight remains a mystery, sources allege Krishnamoorthy may have furnished a false affidavit to the embassy claiming a death in the family to secure seats.
Sources close to Krishnamoorthy told Khaleej Times that his father is terminally ill with cancer while his mother died in 2018.
"There was no recent death in the family that we know of. Maybe there is a genuine reason that his father us unwell," said the source.
Not under investigation
According to the source, Krishnamoorthy stepped down as the CFO in 2017 when Prasanth Manghat took over as the NMC CEO.
"He had cited health reasons and his father's illness to step down, and was given a lighter portfolio of managing acquired assets which required less frequent travel," said the source.
According to him, Krishnamoorthy was reinstated in February 2020 after the organisation's top tier management exited the country en masse following the disclosure of $4 billion of undeclared debt, landing the Abu-Dhabi-based company into one of the biggest scandals to rock a FTSE 100 entity.
"All top 25 top NMC bosses left the UAE overnight in February. The parent company was left with no one who had the know how and we requested Krishnamoorthy to return and take up the mantle again," said a senior company source.
"He was not in the picture when all of this was unfolding. He is not under investigation in the UAE. There are no criminal charges against him either. But I suspect that he may have worried that investigating authorities will dig deeper into 2017 or 2016 files, when he was in charge."
'Allegations are wrong'
When Khaleej Times reached out to Krishnamoorthy in Kerala, he said he went to India because of his father's ill health and also to arrange school admission for his kids.
"All the allegations are wrong. My father is unwell. And I want to sort out school admission of my children. I will be back in the UAE within three or four days when the flights will resume."
"I have no criminal investigation pending against me as media has falsely reported," said Krishnamoorthy.
He said he has neither 'absconded' nor 'escaped' from the UAE. "I stepped down as a CFO because my father was unwell. Now, for months I have been running the show. Now, I am working from home. That is all."
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