SINGAPORE - About a dozen people marched through the streets of Thiruvarur district in Tamil Nadu in India last week holding up photos of a Singaporean police officer who they claimed had cheated two women in India.
Mr A. Mohamed Rafeek Abdul Kader, 39, an assistant superintendent with the Singapore Police Force, is said to have taken thousands of dollars worth of dowries from the women's families, then married and divorced the women without returning any of the cash and valuables.
He has denied this, saying the families of his ex-wives are just looking to tarnish his reputation and get more money from him.
The allegations have caused a furore in the South Indian state, where several media outlets have carried reports of interviews with family members of the officer's ex-wives.
Tamil news outlet Puthiya Thalaimurai reported that he married Ms Thaslema, an Indian national, in 2014, and received 150 pieces of jewellery and a watch worth 500,000 rupees (S$8,900) as part of the dowry.
The report alleges that he sent her back to India a few days after their marriage and filed for divorce without returning the dowry.
But when contacted by The Straits Times, Mr Rafeek refuted this.
He said they were married in Singapore in 2016, and divorced some time in 2017.
"The media reports are false, and even the dates are wrong," he said.
"After our divorce, (Ms Thaslema) took back the dowry and went back to India, where she is now happily married with a kid."
According to Puthiya Thalaimurai, Mr Rafeek married his second wife, Ms Ameer Nisha, also an Indian national, in 2020.
He reportedly received 101 pieces of jewellery, a Rolex watch, a platinum ring and $5,000 in cash.
The family of the second wife told Indian media that he again filed for divorce shortly after tying the knot, and did not return any of the dowry.
Mr Rafeek denied this as well. He said he filed for divorce in 2021 and it was finalised only earlier this year.
Both of his marriages were registered in Singapore, he said.
Mr Rafeek said he flew to India on May 28, and was in Thiruvarur to attend the wedding of a relative on June 4.
The families of his ex-wives found out he was in the country and told Indian media that he was back to marry and cheat a third woman.
On June 5, a day after his relative's wedding, about 100 people surrounded the building he was staying at, he told The Straits Times.
Armed with weapons including knives, they confronted Mr Rafeek and threatened him with violence unless he paid them 20 million rupees, which was to be split between the families of his ex-wives.
Mr Rafeek said he could not reason with them.
"They took the law into their own hands and threatened to kill me and toss me into the sea if I did not pay up," he said.
"But I was able to escape on a getaway motorcycle, even though they were chasing me with parangs."
He hastily returned to Singapore, where both he and Ms Ameer Nisha have since filed police reports against each other.
In response to queries from ST, a police spokesman said investigations are ongoing.
"Officers are expected to maintain the highest standards of conduct and integrity," said the spokesman.
"The officer is assisting with the investigations."