Mumbai Crime: Builder sentenced for issuing cheque of closed bank account

Updated: Sep 12, 2019, 15:57 IST | Anurag Kamble

Accused Niraj Kakad fails to repay Rs 20 lakh he had taken from a businessman in 2015; lender approaches court, which sentences accused to six months in jail

Mumbai Crime: Builder sentenced for issuing cheque of closed bank account
Niraj Kakad

The metropolitan magistrate court – Ballard Pier – has sentenced city-based builder Niraj Kakad to six months in jail for allegedly providing a cheque for repayment of Rs 20 lakh loan he had taken from a businessman in 2015, linked to an account that has been shut. Following this, the lender — Taro Vazirani — gave him 15 days of time to make the payment but as Kakad failed to return the money, Vazirani approached the court, which later sentenced him to jail. However, the accused managed to secure bail and has also got time to appeal in the high court.

According to sources, Kakad had taken the loan from Vazirani in March 2015 and had agreed to repay by March 2017 at an interest of 2.25 per cent per annum. On March 31, 2017, the accused gave a Rs 81,000 cheque to the lender as part of repayment of the loan. But when the complainant deposited the cheque for encashment, it bounced because the account was closed. Based on a receipt from the bank, Vazirani sent a statutory demand notice to Kakad on June 28 the same year for repayment of the amount, failing which he would approach court to prosecute him under Section 138 (dishonour of cheque for insufficiency, etc., of funds in the account) of the Negotiable Instruments Act.

When the accused failed to return the money, Vazirani approached the metropolitan magistrate court and filed a case against him. In his defence, Kakkad had submitted that he issued the cheque as a measure of security and it was never meant for repayment. But he couldn't explain why his account was closed when he had issued the cheque. The court observed Kakad's behaviour as dishonest and issued the order.

Post trial, magistrate Vaishali Hangagerkar sentenced Kakad to simple imprisonment and directed him to pay Rs 40 lakh at an interest of 9 per cent per annum, as the reasonable quantum of loss from the date of the order till it's actual realisation, to the complainant. The court further said if the accused failed to pay, then he would have to serve an additional two months of imprisonment.

Not the first time

In February this year Kakad was arrested for his involvement in an alleged cheque bounce case. He had borrowed Rs 1 crore from Bandra-based businessman Deepak Teckchandani in 2015. Kakad had issued post-dated cheques to Teckchandani as security. When the lender realised that Kakad had no intention of returning the money, he filed a case in the Bandra court in February 2018 after which a non-bailable warrant was issued against him. Later, the court ordered his arrest in February this year.

Reaction quotes

'I will appeal against the order in HC. I am doing my business with utmost honesty. This is a conspiracy against me by a certain group of people' – Niraj Kakad, builder

 'We're extremely grateful to the court for this judgment. The complainant is a senior citizen who’s been harassed. It is time the builder lobby acts responsibly' – Vishal Manghnani, spokesperson for complainant Vazirani

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