THREE of the alleged victims in the fraud cases against former travel agent Vicky Boodram and her estranged husband Ravi Arjoonsingh have passed away, even as the preliminary enquiry against the two accused is yet to be completed.
Boodram and Arjoonsingh face 106 of the 109 initial charges laid after several intended travellers allegedly paid more than $1.3 million for an all-inclusive 2011 Caribbean cruise. The cruise failed to sail.
San Fernando Senior Magistrate Cherril-Anne Antoine was set to give her ruling yesterday as to whether they would be committed to stand trial before the High Court, however, Arjoonsingh’s attorney Jagdeo Singh, handed over further submissions.
State attorney Elaine Greene said she was handed the submissions yesterday morning and needed time to reply. She said new issues were raised.
Asked by Antoine about the reason for these issues not being raised before and the delay in filing, Singh spoke of the challenges at his chambers which is being moved.
“We tried to do the best we could in the circumstances,” he said.
The submissions are also to be viewed by Boodram’s attorney Jeevan Rampersad.
In response to queries made by the magistrate, Greene said that three people had passed away in the matters.
She is to clarify the status of Boodram’s Travel and Ship Ahoy Cruises Ltd which is named as an entity in the matters.
The cases proceeded by way of paper committal with prosecution witnesses being called for cross-examination.
At the start of the enquiry in April 2018, two of the 109 matters were dismissed as the victims had died. Another had also subsequently passed away.
Boodram, who was the owner of Boodram’s Travel and Ship Ahoy Cruises Ltd, and Arjoonsingh, who was a director, still face 106 charges.
Boodram also faces two charges of money laundering which alleged that she purchased a Mercedes Benz worth more than $620,000 and house and land in Palmiste for more than $2 million, knowing that the money was derived through fraudulent means.
Charges were laid by officers Seecharan, Bassarath and Bernard of the Fraud Squad.
Greene tendered 50 witness statements and 84 exhibits into evidence before closing the prosecution’s case last May.
“It’s long past due that it be completed,” Antoine said yesterday as the matters were adjourned to September 27.
Singh assured that no more submissions will be made on that day.
Attorney Lana Lakhan was also present with Singh for the matter.
Boodram has been in custody since 2016 and last year she and three police officers faced charges related to her alleged escape from lawful custody.
Arjoonsingh is out on bail.