With the arrest of six persons, the Ulhasnagar Crime Branch officials have busted a major construction racket on the outskirts of Dombivli. The arrested persons have been identified as father-son duo of Mritunjay (48) and Vishal Singh (22) and real estate agents Sunil Gawde (45), Sunil Bodhare (35), Satyawan Kadam (51) and Ajay Kolte (42). Two of their accomplices, builder Amitkumar Singh and real estate agent Samir Virani, are at large. These arrests have brought over 40 buildings under the scanner.
The crime branch swung into action after an alert citizen wrote to the Thane police commissioner, K P Raghuwanshi, tipping him off about the group’s involvement in forging land-related documents. The officials recovered fake rubber stamps and forged documents of various government departments from the accused.
The officials revealed that all the questionable buildings have been constructed in the villages of Nandavli, Bhopar, Davdi, Azade and Govali, located on the fringes of Dombivli. Since the villages are out of Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) purview, construction here requires permission from the collector’s office. The accused would forge permission-related documents of all the important authorities, including collector, deputy collector and tehsildar, among others.
“Apart from the requisite permission from the collector’s office, construction on agricultural land in these villages requires a Non Agriculture (NA) certificate from the tehsildar’s office. The accused also managed to forge NA certificates,” said an officer from the Ulhasnagar Crime Branch. Revealing their modus operandi, the officials said that the gang had been operational for the past two years and would lure unsuspecting buyers by placing advertisements in newspapers and on local cable TV.
Senior police inspector Machindra Chavan said, “The accused were arrested after thorough investigations and have been charged under several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for cheating and forgery. They were produced in the local court and have been remanded to police custody. Besides, we have formed two teams to track the absconding accused.”
Speaking to MiD DAY, one of the victims of the scam, said, “I have invested my life’s savings in this flat. There were so many good advertisements shown about their projects. Now I don’t know where am I supposed to go. The government has to intervene and help us.”