Blind girl runs pillar to post to reclaim Rs 1-cr property from father
21-yr-old discovers a power of attorney with her thumb impression that authorised the transfer of her property to her brother; accuses her estranged father of cheating and fraud
The sin of greed can blind even a father. No one will testify to this hard-learnt truth more fiercely than Neha Agarwal (21), third-year BA student from St Xavier's College. While her friends devote their energies to studies or the pursuit of revelry, the blind girl has been stumbling from pillar to post for the past few weeks, to retrieve the apartment gifted to her by her grandfather, which she claims was fraudulently wrested from her by her father. The disputed flat that her beloved grandfather had bequeathed to her -- keeping her disability in mind -- has an estimated market value of over Rs 1 crore. But for Neha, its emotional value is priceless.
Fighting for justice: Neha Agarwal and her mother Pooja have been
living with her maternal grandparents. Pic/Rane Ashish
Agarwal vs Agarwal
Neha (21), has registered written complaints with the Chembur police as well as the Zonal Deputy Commissioner of Police, claiming that her grandfather, 82-year-old Nandlal Agarwal had gifted her flat number D-2 at Jeevan Co-operative Society in Chembur -- in which he lives alone -- on January 29 last year. The proprietorship of the apartment, which measures 500 square feet, was formally transferred to her via a gift deed registered at the sub-registrar's office in Kurla on February 1, 2011.
In her complaint, Neha has accused her father Uday Agarwal of resorting to criminal measures by creating a forged document -- with her bogus thumbprint -- which showed that he had Power of Attorney over her assets. He then proceeded to get another gift deed registered at the same sub-registrar's office, on January 28 this year. This sham document transferred the gifted apartment to the possession of her younger brother Krsna (12), who is a minor.
"I was not informed of the creation or the execution of any such document, nor of any paper granting him power of attorney. I have neither put my thumb impression on any piece of paper, nor have I registered any gift deed making my brother a beneficiary," said Neha in her complaint.
The complaint further alleges that she learnt of the forgery when her lawyer visited the sub-registrar's office in Kurla to obtain a copy of the authentic gift deed that had been registered by her grandfather last February.
Advocate Dinesh Tiwari, who represents Neha, said, "The phony document granting Power of Attorney that her father prepared has not been registered before the sub-registrar, as per the provisions of the Registration Act. Hence it does not have any legal standing. Also, the thumb impression on the document does not correspond to my client Neha."
Tiwari added, "We have initiated legal proceedings on charges of forgery with criminal conspiracy, and have accordingly intimated the police. The onus is now on the police to register the FIR. If they fail to do so, we will be approaching the court."
Neha said, "My father cheated me, taking advantage of my blindness. I have been unable to concentrate on my studies due to the ill-treatment he meted out to me and my mother. We were both thrown out into the darkness of the night in December. Since then, we have been living with my grandparents."
Blinded at birth
Neha was born premature, and poor oxygen supply during birth meant that she had to be kept on incubator support for several days. It is then that she developed problems with her vision. She was even taken to USA for corrective surgery, but they proved to be futile.
Continuously battling stressful situations in her dysfunctional family has taken a toll on her peace of mind, and the unease of having to enter into a legal dispute with her own father came as the last straw. Groping in the dark for some help, Neha even approached her college counselor for advice. She is afraid that she may lose an academic year to the turmoil that has descended upon her dark and gloomy familial life. Her mother Pooja said, "My daughter and I have gone through a lot, but I can't endure this anymore. Neha cannot be denied what rightfully belongs to her. The flat was gifted to her by her grandfather, keeping in mind her disability."
ACP (East) Quaiser Khalid said, "I will order the local police station to carry out a detailed inquiry of the matter."
DCP (Zone VI) Manoj Kumar Lohiya said, "I have marked the complaint copy to the senior police inspector of Chembur police station. He may take help of forensics experts to verify the legitimacy of the contentious thumb impression. If we find any credence to the claims made by Neha, necessary legal action will be taken against those involved."
A senior police officer from Chembur police station said, "We have received the application and are looking into the matter."
The Other Side
Neha's father Uday Agarwal rubbished the allegations levelled against him by his daughter, saying, "Let the truth come out. The police have recorded my statement and have asked for some documents, which I will furnish soon. My daughter is blind, and people with vested interests are trying to take undue advantage of her disability."
He added, "I have been married to Pooja for the last 25 years. Ours was a love marriage, which wasn't accepted by her father and brother. They are now instigating my wife and daughter to make false allegations against me, to serve their own ulterior motives. I have no issues with my wife and daughter. They left the house of their own accord, and are welcome to return anytime."