Cops bust social service network, four arrested

Ulhasnagar’s Central police have apprehended the chairman of Sai Baba Educational Trust (SBET) and three of its members for issuing a phoney social service certificate to a businessman so that he could get a seat in the local civic body. Cops have also booked the councillor, Sanmukh Manwani alias Annu, who used the document to get nominated.

Sheetaldas Harchandani
Sheetaldas Harchandani

Yesterday police arrested Sheetaldas Harchandani, Suresh Harchandani, Manohar Makhija and Murali Makhija. A former two-time MLA from BJP, Sheetal is chairman of SBET and also runs a co-operative bank with several branches in the city. The others are all members of the trust.

MiD DAY had reported on April 22 (‘Councillor put in fake social service certificate to get nominated’) how the matter first came to light. According to the police, Manwani submitted a certificate in UMC claiming he is the secretary of SBET. He also maintained that he had done a lot of work for deaf-mute kids. On April 9 last year, in a special general body meeting, UMC members nominated him as councillor on the basis of that document.

However, SBET affiliate Dr Jay Kalyani first pointed fingers at Manwani, insisting that he had never been a member of the trust. Later, social worker Vasu Kukreja obtained documents through Right to Information (RTI) Act about SBET. He too discovered that Manwani had never been a part of the body. “I am a representative of the trust. I am fully aware that Manwani was never a member. Our chairman Harchandani and other associates issued a fake certificate to him,” said Kalyani. Kukreja filed several police complaints, and following investigations cops registered an FIR.

“We arrested Sheetaldas Harchandani and three others under sections 420 (cheating), 465 (forgery), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 471 (using as genuine a forged document), 171 (g) (false statement in connection with an election), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) and 34 (acts done by several people with common intention) of IPC,” said investigation officer Vishal Patil. The accused got bail on surety of Rs 20,000 each. Sources say the fact that Harchandani is 81 years old was a consideration. 

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