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'Dead' man returns to haunt CBI

Four weeks is all the time Gouri Banerjee has to prove that a man who cheated her of Rs 8.53 lakh nearly 10 years ago, in fact, also ‘cheated’ death. CBI on Monday submitted its case report to Bombay High Court, where it stated that as per a January 2011 death certificate, the accused, Rajarshi Dwivedi, has expired. However, Banerjee produced Facebook pictures of Dwivedi’s daughter’s May 2011 wedding in which she claims the accused is clearly visible.

Rajarshi Dwivedi
Gouri Banerjee says this pic of Rajarshi Dwivedi (circled) from his daughter’s wedding in May 2011 proves that he is alive and that his death certificate is fake

Police, however, insist that the man in the photos is actually a relative of Dwivedi, who happens to bear a striking resemblance to him.

According to Banerjee, Dwivedi met her on the internet and cheated her of Rs 8.53 lakh in January 2004. He had told Banerjee, who is a widow, that he was a foreign-returned doctor with an MD degree in addition to an MBBS from AIIMS, and had studied in London and Glasgow. He offered to marry her and allegedly duped her of the amount after claiming he needed it for medical treatment.

Gouri Banerjee
Gouri Banerjee 

Banerjee says though she never met Dwivedi in person, she was regularly in touch with him over the phone and internet. After she transferred the money in his name, the accused disappeared. A background check by Banerjee revealed Dwivedi was a fraudster and she approached Kapurbawdi police. Dwivedi has been declared an absconder since 2007.

Gurucharan Richharya, Rajarshi Dwivedi
Dead ringer: Gurucharan Richharya, who, according to CBI, was erroneously identified as Rajarshi Dwivedi (right) by Gouri Banerjee in some Facebook photos. File pic

Investigations by Thane Crime Branch and later CBI — as the High Court wasn’t pleased with the previous probe — revealed Dwivedi had died in a Meerut hospital on January 19, 2011. However, Banerjee insists that the death certificate is phoney. Banerjee told the court that the format of the document, which is written in both Hindi and English, should be cause for suspicion. Moreover, the report from the cremation grounds was missing. Though Dwivedi purportedly died in January 2011, police obtained copies of the death certificate much later – some time in September.

Speaking to MiD DAY, Banerjee said, “One of the comments on that Facebook page refers to ‘mummy’, who is standing behind the bride, Priyanka. The person to her right is Rajarshi.” The pictures are from the profile of Prerna Richharya, who is Dwivedi’s niece. Priyanka got married on May 19, 2011 — five months after Dwivedi’s supposed death.

However, the police contend that the person in blue is actually Gurucharan Richharya — Prerna’s father-in-law — who is a spitting image of Dwivedi.

On Monday, the division bench of justices AS Oka and SS Jadhav observed in their order, “After perusing the CBI report, we cannot issue further directions to the officer, though [Banerjee] insists that [Dwivedi] is still very much alive.”

The court has now directed Banerjee to produce fresh evidence to establish that Dwivedi is alive, on the basis of which further directions will be issued.

January 19, 2011
The day Rajarshi Dwivedi died in a Meerut hospital, according to the CBI 

‘MY dad is dead’
When contacted, Pooja Dwivedi, Priyanka’s sister said, “CBI has said in its report that my father died long ago. He is dead. Do not stir up the issue and leave us alone.”

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