From barracks to polo grounds to the confines of a prison, it’s been an eventful journey for 37-year-old Saurabh Saharan, a former Major in the Indian Army, who was arrested in Ahmedabad on Sunday with a consignment of 52-kg gold bars.
A Major in 61st Cavalry, he was court-martialled for violating Army Rules by having a relationship with a US woman, who later alleged that the Major had duped her of lakhs of rupees. He dons several hats: he is an international polo player and runs a polo club, is an animal rights activist involved in saving tigers.
Saharan is in judicial custody at Sabarmati Central Jail in Ahmedabad after the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Ahmedabad, arrested him, along with Surender Singh Dagar (39), a resident of Delhi, in the gold haul case. Saharan, a resident of Gurgaon, and Dagar are close friends. They were arrested from two hotels on Ashram Road in Ahmedabad on April 26.
The DRI sleuths arrested the duo and recovered 52 gold bars, worth over Rs 7 crore and of Dubai origin, in a suitcase at the hotel room. The duo couldn’t produce the documents related to the purchase of the gold and DRI officials confiscated the consignment. Dagar’s brother, Kapil, is involved in another gold-smuggling case detected by the Special Operation Group (SOG) of Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch (DCB).
In February, the SOG had seized 60 kg gold from Ahmedabad airport and arrested six persons, including Kapil. Since then, the DRI has been trying to get custody of the accused and the gold, to no avail. The matter is pending in the court. It is believed that both the cases are connected and according to highly placed sources, the racket could involve several high-profile people.
Saharan, believed to be one of the key accused, has moved an application seeking bail. In his bail petition, he has said that he arrived in Ahmedabad on the request of Dagar to help his brother (Kapil) in getting bail. Saharan has claimed that he was not aware of the gold consignment and has also questioned the purity of the gold.
Saharan’s bail application describes him as a freelance international “polo player”, who is the CEO at Rissala Polo Club in Gurgaon. He has claimed that he has represented India and the Indian Army in at least 10 countries. His club “is a non-profit organisation that supports the equine sports”.
Besides, Saharan has also claimed that he has been involved in the conservation of forests and saving tigers at Sariska Tiger Reserve. He also claimed that he has been involved in one of the oldest NGOs in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, to support the girl child orphanage and devotes his time, efforts and money to the outfit.