Va­sai en­gi­neer who nailed 46 got cop no­tice for ex­tor­tion

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES CITY - Sand­hya.Nair@ times­

Mum­bai: The Va­sai au­to­mo­bile en­gi­neer who nailed 46 per­sons, in­clud­ing civic and rev­enue of­fi­cers us­ing Right to In­for­ma­tion (RTI) Act, for forg­ing doc­u­ments and grab­bing his mother’s an­ces­tral prop­erty ( TOI, Nov 10), was in April is­sued a no­tice by Va­sai po­lice for al­legedly us­ing RTI to ex­tort and threaten de­vel­op­ers.

Michael Prad­han (34) had on Novem­ber 3 filed a case of cheat­ing, forgery, per­son­ation, crim­i­nal breach of trust, mak­ing false claims in court, crim­i­nal tres­pass and laun­der­ing against the ac­cused for grab­bing 5.29 acres in Ban­gli, San­door, Va­sai (W).

Michael took nine years to gather doc­u­ments to show his mother Veron­ica’s prop­erty pa­pers were forged and sold to de­vel­op­ers, who con­structed res­i­den­tial com­plexes. He learnt that the prop­erty, worth over Rs 250 crore, was en­croached upon in con­nivance with ad­di­tional and as­sis­tant mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sion­ers, the town plan­ner, rev­enue and land record of­fi­cers.

In March-April, Pal­ghar po­lice woke up to ex­tor­tion of builders by RTI ac­tivists. Around 10 cases were filed in Va­sai. In April, Michael re­ceived a no­tice from Va­sai po­lice, al­leg­ing that he was us­ing RTI to threaten and ex­tort de­vel­op­ers who had con­structed row houses and build­ings on his prop­erty. “I was fight­ing a case of en­croach­ment and I was shocked to get a no­tice that I was us­ing RTI to ex­tort money. Had it not been for RTI, I would not have known the ex­tent to which gov­ern­ment of­fi­cers can go,” said Michael, who ap­proached the Va­sai court for re­lief.

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