While the lid has been blown on the scam, which was carried out by a real estate agent in MMRDA’s Project Affected People (PAP) buildings, after the arrest of its alleged mastermind, it has now been revealed that MMRDA did not act on the major scam since May.
The Powai police who are investigating the scam, that has nearly 200 victims, claimed that MMRDA was informed about in May about how the owners of the PAP houses illegally sold and re-rented homes to people to make money. However, no action was taken against the owners.
Mastermind behind bars
Cops have arrested one Dinesh Mistry in the scam terming him the mastermind. mid-day reported about the scam yesterday in ‘Agent poses as landlord, dupes 200’. They said that since the past few months they have registered 24 FIRs against Mistry for cheating people. Advocate Vicky Sharma who is representing victims of all the 24 cases said, “The accused Mistry and his associates Rashid Shaikh and Taimuruddin Shaikh (named in the FIRs) did this in connivance with the owners of the houses, who themselves directed the victims to Mistry saying he is their agent.”
No owner booked yet
Police too believe that the owners of the MMRDA PAP houses unlawfully allowed Mistry to sell or re-rent their house to make money. However, police have so far not booked a single owner.
A police officer who is part of the probe said, “We have written to MMRDA about the scam and illegal practice of the house owners in May. However, the authority took no action against the owners. Hence, the victims started approaching police.”
When mid-day contacted MMRDA joint director (projects) Dilip Kawathkar through phone calls and messages asking if the agency would take any action on the house owners for illegally giving house on rent, he did not respond.
Meanwhile, advocate Sharma alleged that the police’s approach to the entire scam has been very insensitive and till date they have not made any recovery from the arrested accused. The police claimed that Mistry told interrogators that he has no money left and has huge debts in his head.
“On Wednesday the accused Mistry was produced in the court and was remanded in police custody up to October 14,” said sub-inspector Tushar Garud of the Powai police station.
MMRDA ‘office’ rented out too
Another police officer said that the committee members of the various societies formed in the 19 MMRDA PAP buildings in Milind Nagar, JVLR, are also involved in the scam. Probe revealed that one of the societies’ secretary even rented an MMRDA office to make money.
FIRs against mastermind Dinesh Mistry
Period of years the owner of a house cannot sell it