Vasai-Virar housing scam: RERA, VVMC refuse to cooperate with house-of-cards probe

29 August,2023 07:11 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Shirish Vaktania

Police visit municipal office, located opposite the Virar police station, two to three times a day but say they are stonewalled every time

Pic/Hanif Patel

Key Highlights

The Virar police have sent summons to VVCMC (Vasai Virar City Municipal Corporation) officials, MahaRERA, collectors and tahsildars of Thane, Palghar, Raigad and Alibaug, along with bank officers to give statements in the house of cards scam involving 55 Illegal buildings in Vasai-Virar. However, none of the officers are ready to give their statement to help the police.

The police seized around 155 fake rubber stamps and 600 letterheads of all various government authorities. Police officers told mid-day that the officials are delaying the investigation by not giving their statements and not cooperating with them.

According to the police, they have been visiting the VVCMC office which is located opposite of the Virar police station two to three times a day to record statements but officials are not cooperating and avoiding giving their statement. On August 22, the Virar police sent summons to VVCMC officials Y S Reddy (head of town planning) and Rajendra Lad (city engineer) but they have not given their statements till now.

The police have seized around 155 fake rubber stamps and 600 letterheads. Pic/Hanif Patel

The Virar police registered an FIR on July 23 and arrested the mastermind Prashant Patil and his gang on August 1. From August 8 onwards, the police started sending summons to all government authorities but none of them have come forward to give statements.

During the investigation, the Virar police found that Ujjivan Finance played a lead role in giving loans to the 18 buyers at Rudransh Apartments, located at Kopri village in Virar East. The police have also sent summons to the bank to check on what grounds they gave loans to the buyers of the illegal property.

The other lenders involved are Poonawalla Housing Finance, Hero Housing Finance Ltd, IndoStar Home Finance, Magma finance, Cosmos Bank, Central Bank of India, Janata Sahakari Bank and Karur Vysya Bank. Of these, only officers from Karur Vysya Bank and Central Bank of India have given their statements to the police.

Senior inspector Rajendra Kamble of Virar police station said, "We sent summons to all the government authorities whose letterheads and stamps were used in this 55 illegal buildings scam case. We also sent summons to the lenders but they are not ready to give a statement and are delaying the investigation."

According to Kamble, police officers have been visiting the collector and tehsildar offices at Jawahar, Raigad, Palghar, Alibaug and Karjat on a daily basis to record statements but they are also not cooperating. "We also sent summons to MahaRERA but they too are not responding," Kamble said.

According to the Virar police, the investigation revealed that VVCMC uploaded completion certificates (CC) and occupancy certificates (OC) on their website only till March 2021. Patil and his gang were aware of this and took advantage by creating fake CCs and OCs and submitting them to MahaRERA and the registration office for the registration of flats.

A source from the sub-registrar office at Virar East said, "We always check the OC and CC from the VVCMC website and do the registration but it was not updated since March 2021. Patil and his gang took advantage of this and submitted fake documents."

According to the source, in the case of Rudransh Apartments, the gang forged the documents and created fake CC and OC. "We also found around 12 flats registration papers of Rudransh Apartments, of which 10 are fake registrations while two registrations happened at our office on the basis of fake documents as the VVCMC website was not updated," the source explained.

A police officer told mid-day, "We have checked the VVCMC website and found that the list of CC and OC had been updated only till March 2021. They have started updating it after the scam came to light."

Aug 8
Day police started summoning people to record statements

"Exciting news! Mid-day is now on WhatsApp Channels Subscribe today by clicking the link and stay updated with the latest news!" Click here!
MahaRERA virar vasai mumbai mumbai news
Related Stories