Duped by two, Chinese woman's battle for justice reaches courts
First the Chinese woman was cheated of Rs 32 lakh by a Mumbai man who promised to marry her; then lawyer she hired gypped her of over Rs 3 lakh. This is the story of her four-year fight in the Indian system
Close to four years ago, Chinese national Han Shen, a financial adviser based in Shanghai, was cheated of Rs 32 lakh by Mumbai-based businessman Ranjeet Jha. When she decided to fight against Jha, a city-based lawyer named Purvi Shah, too, cheated her of money. To this day, Han Shen is awaiting justice, even though the only progress in the case is a seemingly unending cycle of court summons, which neither of the accused have bothered responding to.
Shen and Jha met each other in 2008. In her statement to the police, she said, "I met Jha in 2008, when I was working at the State Bank of India's Shanghai branch. We became good friends. Then, between 2010 and 2014, I paid him USD 5,000 [approximately Rs 3.42 lakh] for his business. He'd also promised to marry me. But, in 2015, I realised that Jha had no intentions of returning my money or marrying me."
Purvi Shah, the first lawyer Shen hired to fight against Jha
In the course of their friendship, Jha allegedly extorted R32 lakh from Shen. To get her money back, Shen looked online to hire a lawyer. She found Shah, who said she has an office in Thakur Mall, Kandivli, and promised to get her justice. Cops said Shah assured Shen that she would help her file an FIR in the case.
Shen further said in her police statement, "I entered into an agreement with Shah for USD 9,524 [approximately Rs 6.57 lakh] and it was decided that I would pay her half of the money as an advance fee." Shen paid Shah USD 4,800 [approximately Rs 3.31 lakh] to initiate the legal process against Jha. But she was cheated here too. Shah e-mailed her a copy of a forged FIR against Jha. As per the fake FIR, the case had been registered at Samta Nagar police station on August 18, 2015 under sections 120, 415 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Ranjeet Jha had allegedly promised to marry Han Shen
Shen kept calling Shah to get updates in the case but Shah would only ask her to send the remaining amount of her fee to her account, which Shen delayed sensing something odd. Then, she got the phone number of the Samta Nagar police station and called them up on October 13, 2015 to get an update on the case. However, she found out from the on-duty officer that the case number '130/2015' was completely bogus.
Shen then landed in Mumbai on December 16, 2015. Once again, she enquired about the case number with the cops at Samta Nagar. She was advised to approach the Borivli court, where an application was filed and Samta Nagar police were asked to book Jha and Shah under relevant sections of IPC and investigate the matter.
Jha resides in Malad east, whereas Shah is a resident of Malad west. For close to four years now, several court summons have been issued to both of them at their homes and cops have even contacted them through their phone numbers, but neither party has responded.
Sources at police station told mid-day that Jha has been continuously changing his addresses. "He has not even bothered to respond," said an officer from the Kurar police station. Speaking about Shah, an officer from Malad police station said, "She [Shah] was not found at her home. We also pasted the summons letter on the door but she hasn't responded."
Shen's current lawyer Sunita Sutrale told mid-day that Shah knows the loopholes in the law, "She is never present at her office during the daytime, neither does she call any of her clients at her office or home during the day. But, she is always available after sunset. This is because she knows that she won't be asked to come to the police station post sunset as she is a woman."
Now, Sutrale is mulling over sending fresh summons over WhatsApp, so that further course of legal action can be initiated. mid-day reached out to Jha for comment, but he remained unavailable. As for Shah, she calmly listened to mid-day's questions at length on the phone, but refused to say anything and disconnected the call.
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