Mumbai: Arthur Road jail shuts its gates to Ponzi schemer
Arthur Road Jail officials have refused to take back notorious conman and Ponzi schemer Shekhar Chandrashekhar to avoid attracting fresh trouble
Arthur Road jail is in no mood for taking in controversial inmates, especially ones like Shekhar Chandrashekhar, who refuse to stop running their schemes even when behind bars.
Police were given the excuse that Arthur Road jail is overcrowded and he should be shifted to Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai. But, the actual reason was that they want to have nothing more to do with Shekhar Chandrashekhar. Pic/AFP
After facing flak over former minister Chhagan Bhujbal’s infamous visit to St George Hospital and the recent clash between 13 undertrials, the prison authorities have refused to take back the conman as they believe he can attract fresh trouble.
Chandrashekhar was sent to judicial custody by a local court on May 30 for stalling the proceedings of a sub-judice property in the Bombay High Court by impersonating a cabinet minister’s secretary. After he failed in pulling off the stunt, the Azad Maidan police registered the 18th case of fraud against him. But recently, they had a hard time lodging him in Arthur Road jail.
A police source said three constables who escorted Shekhar from the Azad Maidan lock-up to Arthur Road Prison were in for a rude shock when jail authorities refused to take him. Helpless, the police team then took him to Navi Mumbai’s Taloja jail. There, too, they refused to take him in, but eventually did.
The entire escort drama between the two jails lasted for four hours. “The police were given the excuse that the Arthur Road jail is overcrowded and he should be shifted to Taloja jail. But, the actual reason was that they no longer wanted to keep Chandrashekhar, in order to avoid any more trouble in future,” said a police officer.
Police sources said Chandrashekhar is known to commit crimes even when in jail. He would simply do so by complaining that he was ill to get himself referred to hospitals. And allegedly by bribing doctors, policemen and jail doctors, he would get himself admitted to a public hospital of his choice.
The state prison department had recently recommended that Arthur Road Jail Superintendent Bharat Bhonsale be transferred to another prison as punishment for not being able to stop Bhujbal and Chandrashekhar’s illegal movement out of prison.
To be sent to Chennai
After spending three days in jail, Chandrashekhar was taken to Chennai yesterday. He was earlier lodged in a Chennai jail for alleged frauds he committed there. The Chennai Central Crime Branch has registered a fresh case against him for duping a doctor of R50 lakh. The Azad Maidan police had taken his custody from Chennai to probe him in their case. They are likely to hand him over to the authorities in Chennai this morning.
Meanwhile, in the Mumbai Economic Offences Wing (EOW) case, in which he allegedly duped over 500 investors to the tune of R19 crore by luring them with ponzi schemes, Chandrashekhar’s bail may possibly be cancelled as the person who stood as surety for him has decided not to support him anymore. Chandrashekhar, who had secured bail from the Supreme Court this April, had the support of Irfan Jaipuri, who became the surety for his bail. In his attempt to dupe the HC, it was Jaipuri’s phone that he had used to call the HC official.
Recently, Chandrashekhar had an argument with Irfan and told him that since he had gone against him in the impersonation case (in which he was arrested by the Azad Maidan police with Irfan’s help), he would not repay his dues of Rs 18 lakh to his father. Irfan’s father is a co-accused in the scam. Following this, police sources said Irfan decided not to help Chandrashekhar anymore and withdrew the surety for him. The apex court had then granted Shekhar bail on the condition that he would repay in four months the R19 crore he took from 500 investors.
During his previous stint at the Arthur Road jail, Chandrashekhar attracted trouble for jail officials. He was an inmate for allegedly duping over 500 investors of R19 crore. “In December last year, he made excuses to visit JJ Hospital every day. With the help of the jail’s medical staff, this continued for three weeks. At the end of the month, he got himself admitted,” said a police officer. Police sources said he bribed the police escort and medical staff to get to JJ. From there, he managed to get the letterhead of the hospital and with the help of a doctor, got himself referred to Rajawadi Hospital.