Clothing wholesaler and businessman Naveen Alahan was introduced by his cousin, Dev to Mike Baldwin and a large order for five thousand pairs of knickers was reached which, with the factory girls working flat out, the delivery date was successfully reached and Naveen's cheque was handed over. Two days later, the bank informed Mike that it had bounced. Despite the fact that this put the entire future of Underworld in jeopardy, he took the news calmly, asking Dev to help sort out what the issue was. Mike's deputy, Joe Carter took the news far more personally, already being in conflict with Dev over his relationship with Geena Gregory or disliking the way in which both Dev and the arrogant Naveen excluded him from the discussions over the original deal.
Joe discovered that Naveen's firm, Alahan International, was about to go into receivership. Although Mike trusted Dev's word that he would help sort the matter out, Joe was more inclined to take direct action. He offered Steve McDonald £200 to help him shift some stock but this was ruse to get an unhappy Steve's help to break into Naveen's warehouse and steal the delivered stock. The heist was successful but Naveen reported the matter to the police who turned up at Underworld to investigate and spoke with Mike Baldwin who had not been made aware of Joe's plan until the knickers were safely returned. Although angry with Joe, he made up a fake delivery order that the items were not due to be sent to Naveen until the following Monday and thus made it appear as if an insurance scam was being pulled. As Joe had stolen the real paperwork from Naveen's warehouse along with the items themselves, there was no proof available that a real theft had taken place. As far as Underworld was concerned, the matter was dropped.
Left with the original order which couldn't easily be sold elsewhere, Joe pulled another con on Naveen. He took some samples of a future exclusive product line to Naveen and promised him first refusal on what he said was already produced stock if he also bought the original order again in cash. Naveen fell for the scam and paid the cash in a brown envelope only to find that the samples were just that and there was nothing for him to buy. He told Dev never to get involved in his business again while Mike was delighted that the business was on a sound financial footing again.
Nine months later, Joe was himself intent on scamming Mike and getting away with a part of his fortune. He started setting up fake invoices for a dummy company called Artrec (an anagram of "Carter") and pocketing the paid proceeds. Going further, Joe's lover, Karen McDonald, started faking Mike's signature on other cheques. When Mike started to get suspicious, Joe arranged to burgle Underworld and declare that a completed, but fictitious order for Artrec had itself been stolen. Further, he made it appear to Mike as if Artrec, now discovered to be a false name, was set up by Naveen. Mike confronted Naveen, who remained calm during the discussion, in the main because he had been forewarned by Dev that Mike and Joe were on the warpath and had two heavies with him for protection. When Joe's scam affected the factory to the point where several of Karen's friends were made redundant, she confessed all to Mike in a fit of guilt - only for him to reveal that he'd already worked out the scam for himself. Karen returned Mike's money and Joe was sent on his way.
Although Naveen regarded Joe as a crook, he himself wasn't adverse to dabbling on the wrong side of the law himself, as was revealed in April 2004 when he dumped several thousand pounds' worth of stolen Rolex watches on Dev when police investigations got too close to him. Dev felt obliged to help because he was family. His fiancé, Maya Sharma, felt differently but nevertheless stopped the police finding the watches in the Corner Shop when she hid them in packets of cornflakes. She then forced Dev to get rid of the items before they got them into any more trouble.
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