Mumbai Crime: Agent poses as landlord, dupes 200

Dinesh Mistry was re-renting MMRDA homes illegally, when real owners showed up, he ran to Ahmedabad but was held

The accused, Dinesh Dhanji Mistry
The accused, Dinesh Dhanji Mistry

In yet another case of duping people by renting out homes that belong to someone else, the Powai police on Tuesday registered 24 FIRs against an agent identified as Dinesh Dhanji Mistry (45) for illegally renting out MMRDA houses in Powai.

The nature of the scam
According to the police, the accused, who was arrested in Ahmedabad, had taken the MMRDA houses in Milind Nagar, JVLR, on rent from the original owners — rehabilitated flood hit victims or project affected people — and then posing as the owner, re-rented them on a heavy deposit rent system. The system is when an incoming tenant pays a one-time lump sum as a returnable deposit for a decided period and does not have to pay a monthly rent. Varying between Rs 1.5 lakh-Rs 10 lakh per tenant, around 200 victims fell prey to Mistry’s scam, as according to MMRDA rules, the owners cannot rent or sell the house for a period of 10 years.

One of the victims, 35-year-old Nasir Hussain, said, “He took Rs 4 lakh from me as heavy deposit and promised me that I could stay there for as long as I want. Even in the rent agreement, he presented himself as the owner. Like me, he has cheated over 200 people.”

Another victim, Indu Banpatte, who was evicted from her home by the original owner, explained, “Since he failed to pay the rent to actual owners, his relations with them soured. Eventually, as a result, they started forcefully throwing out the tenants. Some were also kicked out at knifepoint”. When Mistry realised that his scheme had gone south on him, he fled from the area. That’s when the victims approached the police.

Police says
“We have registered 24 FIRs (mid-day has copy of FIRs) of cheating and forgery against Mistry for cheating people to the tune of approximately Rs 1 crore. Even those who helped Mistry or were associated with him in the crime will soon face action,” said Bhai Keshav Mahadeshwar, senior inspector of the Powai police station.

However, when asked what action would be taken against the home owners who illegally rented out their apartments, MMRDA joint director (projects) Dilip Kawathkar did not respond to phone calls and SMS.

Rs 1 cr
The police’s estimate of the scale of the scam Mistry was running

Rs 10 lakh
The heavy deposit that some tenants ended up paying

Number of victims of the fraud

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