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'How can a dead man sell land twice over?'

Deceased textile magnate's niece unearths documents of sale of about 2,300 sq m of his land in Andheri (East) twice -- once for a throwaway price, and another time for Rs 18 crore -- after he died in 2005

Yet another of what seems to be a land grabbing scam cracks open in the city, in which 2,286.91 sq m of land in Andheri (East) has been shown to have been sold by a man almost a year after his death, and subsequently sold to another company five years later for around Rs 18 crore.


Seeking her right: Khushboo Tampal, Zilla's niece is one of the
beneficiaries named in his will. Pics/ Santosh Nagwekar


PD Zilla, a leading textile owner, had acquired a lot of property in the city in his time, and in 2003, had given Skyline Trading and Export Pvt Ltd a piece of land in Gundavali village in Andheri (East) for redevelopment. The firm took over the land after Zilla's death in 2005 by allegedly forging documents. Five years later, it sold the plot to Videocon Realty and Infrastructure Ltd for almost Rs 18 crore, said Zilla's niece, Khushboo Tampal, one of the beneficiaries named in Zilla's will.

Tampal filed an FIR against Skyline, Videocon, and Bombay Paxwel Pvt Ltd -- the firm Zilla had mortgaged the land to for Rs 10 lakh -- for forging and fabricating documents, cheating and depriving her of her rights on November 2 with the MIDC police station.

On July 27, she had filed a criminal writ petition against the companies in the Bombay High Court, which had directed them to settle the matter. Advocate Om Prakash Pandey said on behalf of Tampal, "Neither of the companies came forward to solve the issue. So the police recorded Tampal's statement, and on November 2, filed an FIR against the companies under Sections 406, 409, 420 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code. It's just another scam wherein they had forged the documents for their benefit."

After assigning Skyline Trading the redevelopment of land, Zilla wrote to them in 2004 to terminate the contract, but on November 9, 2005 he died at the Parsi General Hospital. "But the land was sold by Skyline's owner to his own son for a mere Rs 3,51,000. The firm also paid off the mortgage amount of Rs 10 lakh to Bombay Paxwel, thereby establishing ownership over it. On paper, the transaction occurred in 2006, and the documents name Zilla as the seller. But he died in 2005. How is this possible?" said Pandey.

He further said that the land -- worth Rs 100 crore today -- was sold to Videocon in 2010 for Rs 17,66,89,000 for which there wasn't any title certificate given. "A title certificate is necessary when a disputed land or property is sold. It is given by a lawyer; when there wasn't any exchange of the same, it became clear that no lawyer wanted to put his hand in this fraud," said Pandey.

MiD DAY has copies of all the documents, including Zilla's death certificate, the deed of conveyance, letter to the commissioner of police by Tampal, FIR copy from MIDC police station, development agreement, Zilla's executive will for eight beneficiaries, and the agreement letter of sale to Videocon realty and infrastructure.

Tampal who is a resident of Pune has been travelling to and fro for some time now to get justice and put the perpetrators behind bars. "But the police isn't doing anything. We had filed a complaint on November 2 and since then no action has been taken. Obviously the criminals are getting time to prepare the anticipatory bail."

Tampal came to know about the discrepancy on June 28 earlier this year, when her younger sister Gazal Shiraz Zilla, obtained a certified copy of the Property Card and other records from the office of Registrar of Assurances. 

About Zilla
P D Zilla was a businessman who was initially the owner of Bharat Cotton Textile Mills. According to his niece Khushboo Tampal, he acquired a lot of property in the city which could be easily worth Rs 1,000 crore. He also owned many acres of land in Lonavala. He died in 2005 when he was 80. He was unmarried and the eldest brother of his family.

The other side
None of the officials from Videocon Realty and Infrastructure Ltd, Bombay Paxwel PVt Ltd, or Skyline Trading and Export Pvt Ltd were available for comment on the matter.

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