After 12 years' wait, sweet victory may elude NRI woman
Court orders accused to pay Rs 1.6 cr as compensation - failing which she must serve additional 3 more months as punishment, while complainant must contend with forgetting the money
Despite winning a cheque bounce case from 12 years ago when she was duped of Rs 80 lakh, victory may remain bitter for a Breach Candy resident.
A Metropolitan Magistrate's Court in Girgaum found the accused woman from Goa, Anjali Thakran, guilty in the two cases registered against her in 2007 by Veena Advani. Advanci lost Rs 80 lakh when the cheque issued to her by Anjali in late 2006 bounced.
In its judgment, the court has ordered Anjali to pay Veena Rs 1.6 crore — Rs 70 lakh for one case and Rs 90 lakh for the other — as compensation within 30 days and sentenced her to one-year imprisonment. However, if she fails to pay the compensation, Anjali will only be punished with additional three months in jail.
"Truth is bitter, but it is a fact that the complainant ultimately tends to suffer as the courts cannot have a collateral amount or assets equivalent to the money owed by the accused as surety. Also, there is no provision in law that lets the complainant file a suit to recover the money from the accused. In case the accused claims of having no property or valuables in his/her name, there is no provision to deal with that either," Advocate Dinesh Tiwari, who represented Veena, said.
"In other words, if the accused undergoes additional imprisonment for failing to pay the awarded compensation, then the complainant would stand to get nothing in hand, as the accused would have served the quantum of punishment against the payment," he added.
As such, the case might have opened an avenue for legal brains to come together for a solution.
The court has also given Anjali a month's time to challenge the order. When asked if the jail term is separate for both cases or has been clubbed, Tiwari, said, "If the appellate court also finds the accused guilty, it would give directions regarding imprisonment."
Two separate complaints were registered by Veena, who was then in the United States, against Anjali, a resident of Porvorim, Goa, before the court in 2007.
Veena and her ex-husband, Dilip, purchased a property in Vagator as investment. She later assigned Sanjay Thakran, a builder to develop her property on the plot. Through him, she got to know his wife, Anjali, who was supposed to be a real estate agent.
Through Anjali, Veena bought property in Torda, Goa and transferred the money through a bank in US to Anjali's account. Anjali then proposed a property in Mandrem, Goa, costing R70 lakh, her commission being Rs 10 lakh. This property Veena agreed to buy along with Dilip. She and Dilip paid Rs 35 lakh and Rs 45 lakh respectively and wired the money to Anjali in 2006.
However, when on December 16 that year, a meeting was fixed with the 'owner' of the Mandrem property, Rajesh Jhuwanrkar, he was absent. This made Veena suspicious. Anjali issued her a Letter of Discharge along with three cheques in Veena's favour drawn on South Indian Bank, Panjim branch.
This came with the direction that if the purchase is not finalised on or before January 1, 2007, Veena would be free to deposit the cheques. Veena deposited the cheques at Bank of India's Altamount Road twice — on January 16 and on February 9, 2007 — but they bounced. She then approached the court.
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