Police look for man who posed as employee of Abu Dhabi royal family and stayed at hotel for four months

Police in India are looking for a man who allegedly posed as an employee of Abu Dhabi's royal family and fled a luxury hotel where he was staying for months without paying the hefty bill.

The man, identified as Mohammed Sharif, fled the Leela Palace hotel in the capital Delhi after living there for four months and raking up a bill of Rs 23,00,000 (£23,022). The man has been charged with fraud and theft based on a complaint filed by the hotel's management on Saturday.

Mr Sharif checked into the hotel on 1 August 2022 and stayed till 20 November 2022, the police in Delhi said. Mr Sharif then reportedly left room number 427 without informing anyone.

The hotel management has also accused him of nicking silverware, a mother-of-pearl tray and other items from his room.

The man introduced himself as an employee with the office of Sheikh Falah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and provided a forged business card, according to the police. He allegedly told the staff that he was visiting India for official work and gave them a UAE resident card.

“It seems the guest purposely gave these cards to create a false image and garner extra trust with an intent to cheat and deceive the hotel at a later stage,” the hotel management said in its complaint, according to news agency PTI.

"The guest had also made a few part settlements in the month of August and September 2022 worth Rs 1150000 (£11,500) for room charges, but the total outstanding still stands at Rs23,48,413 (£23,487)."

The man issued a post-dated cheque of Rs20,00,000 (£20,000) due for 21 November which was submitted to the bank the next day but it bounced due to insufficient funds, the hotel management added.

Local police have been scouting through surveillance footage from cameras installed inside and outside the property.

“Multiple teams have been formed to trace the accused man. We have not been able to establish his occupation yet and are working to gather his personal details," an official said.