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