`5-crore hous­ing scam: 3 held for cheat­ing 200

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI - Pranab Jy­oti Bhuyan pranab.bhuyan@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The APMC po­lice have ar­rested three per­sons for al­legedly cheat­ing over 200 peo­ple from Mum­bai and Navi Mum­bai of around Rs5 crore by promis­ing houses un­der math­adi kam­gar hous­ing scheme.

Un­der this scheme, the City and In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (Cidco) de­vel­ops houses for math­adi work­ers who work in the APMC mar­ket in Vashi. A num­ber of such houses were re­cently de­vel­oped in Kopar Khairane and Ghan­soli.

The ac­cused lured math­adis and non-math­adis promis­ing such houses at a cheaper rate. They have been con­ning peo­ple for the past one-and-a-half year by con­vinc­ing them that they would se­cure houses in their names. Each vic­tim paid the ac­cused Rs2 to Rs8 lakh for one house, sources from the po­lice said.

The ar­rested men have been iden­ti­fied as Bhausa­heb Ya­dav, 46, a res­i­dent of Kopar Khairane, San­tosh Cha­van, 40, a res­i­dent of Pune, and San­tosh Jad­hav, 31, a na­tive of So­la­pur. While Ya­dav was ar­rested around five days ago, Cha­van and Jad­hav were ar­rested on Fri­day.

“Cidco de­vel­ops only 500-600 houses against the 2,000 math­adi work­ers of the mar­ket. So the work­ers al­ways face an un­cer­tainty when it comes to get­ting a house un­der that scheme,” said Rahul Rakh, as­sis­tant po­lice in­spec­tor of APMC po­lice sta­tion.

“The ac­cused took ad­van­tage of the sit­u­a­tion and ap­proached the work­ers to con­vince that one house will be booked in their name if they paid a few lakh ru­pees in ad­vance,” he added.

The vic­tims did not sus­pect any foul play as ac­cused Ya­dav has been a math­adi union worker for sev­eral years. “When­ever a per­son wanted to book a house by pay­ing money, the ac­cused would file a form with that per­son’s name and other de­tails. They claimed that the form was is­sued by their union. But all those forms were bo­gus,” Rakh said.

When the ac­cused failed to hand over the houses to the vic­tims within the promised time frame, some of the vic­tims ap­proached the po­lice a few weeks ago. Grad­u­ally, more peo­ple started com­ing to the po­lice sta­tion with sim­i­lar com­plaints against the ac­cused. A ma­jor­ity of the vic­tims are from Kopar Khairane and Ghan­soli, said po­lice sources.

“So far, we have got names of over 170 peo­ple who paid money to the ac­cused. We have learned about some more peo­ple who paid money, but they are yet to come to us,” an­other po­lice of­fi­cer said.

The in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cers are also in a process of ex­am­in­ing the bank de­tails of the ac­cused and check­ing the trans­ac­tion that they made in the past one­and-a-half-year. “This may give us more de­tails,” the of­fi­cer said.

Prashant Khaire, deputy com­mis­sioner of po­lice (zone 1) said, “We are also in­ves­ti­gat­ing to find out if some se­nior lead­ers of math­adi union were in­volved in this scam. If we find ev­i­dence, le­gal ac­tion will be taken against them too.”

The po­lice have booked the ac­cused un­der sec­tions 420 (pun­ish­ment for cheat­ing), 465 (pun­ish­ment for forgery), 468 (forgery for pur­pose of cheat­ing), 471 (us­ing as gen­uine a forged doc­u­ment or elec­tronic record), 201 (caus­ing dis­ap­pear­ance of ev­i­dence of of­fence, or giv­ing false in­for­ma­tion to screen of­fender) and 34 (acts done by sev­eral per­sons in fur­ther­ance of com­mon in­ten­tion) of the In­dian Pe­nal Code.

They have been re­manded in po­lice cus­tody till Septem­ber 14.

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