Mumbai Crime: Con lawyers, maid caught trying to usurp Rs 4 crore house

Updated: Dec 24, 2016, 12:53 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

It was the perfect forgery, barring one mistake: The stamp paper used to register the testament was not in use at the time the three claimed that the lonely owner of two flats in Worli made the will

Star building at Worli. Pics/Bipin Kokate
Star building at Worli. Pics/Bipin Kokate

Flats 301 and 302 - worth crores in South Central Mumbai - would have been grabbed by a maid, but for the alertness shown by a high court judge. Two lawyers, incidentally sisters, who have been accused of abetting the crime, had applied for anticipatory bail. Rejected by the lower court, it is now pending at the HC.

The building in Worli where the flats in question are located
The building in Worli where the flats in question are located

Geeta Surve (43) worked as a maid at those flats belonging to Mohan Narayan (42), a diabetic and a bachelor, who lived with his aged parents. His father died the year 2009; on September 20, 2014, Mohan too passed away.

The maid, taking advantage of the fact that there was only an aged mother and (Mohan’s) sister, a professor in a reputed US university, tried to usurp the two flats. At the current estimate, the flats are estimated to be over Rs 4 crore.

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Datta Padsalgikar, Commissioner of Police, Mumbai
Datta Padsalgikar, Commissioner of Police, Mumbai

The sisters forged a marriage certificate that said the maid was married to the deceased bachelor. Another forged document they helped the maid with was a will, allegedly by the deceased, bequeathing the property to the maid.

The maid had approached the HC and filed a testamentary suit (with the will) and her claim to establish her right over the property. However, the alert judge felt something amiss and directed the Mumbai police commissioner to probe the matter, which brought out the truth.

The court observation
Justice GS Patel of the Bombay High Court was hearing the testamentary suit, when he said defendant’s senior lawyer Rajani Iyer was correct in pointing out that not only was Surve’s conduct extremely suspicious, but that the document she sought to prove as true left many questions unanswered. There was a discrepancy between the dates on the stamp paper as well as and the date of Narayan’s death, the judge observed.

Surve’s lawyer then made two applications before the court — one to withdraw the suit and the other for leave to withdraw the ‘will’; the judge rejected these.

On August 4, the court directed the commissioner to appoint a DCP rank officer to carry out a probe into the ‘will’ and the stamp paper that was obtained from the treasury in Palghar.

The Rs 100 stamp paper
The stamp paper showed two dates — November 17, 2009, of the Palghar stamp office and December 8, 2009, as the date when it was vended in the name of one Mohan Narayan of Andheri.

However, it was later found out that the stamp paper was issued by additional treasury office, Palghar, on November 7, 2014. This is significant because the will purports to be of December 14, 2009, whereas Narayan died in 2014.

From her mouth
Surve had claimed that she had married Mohan at Wangni in Karjat on March 21, 2002, (but had no registered document to prove this), and her mother-in-law Vasantha and sister-in-law Uma were against the marriage; hence, she was staying with her sister in Wangni. In 2009, she claimed, her mother-in-law came to Wangni, after her husband’s demise, and asked her to stay with them at their Prabhadevi residence.

After Mohan’s death, Vasantha and Uma had a discussion whether to allow her (Geeta) to continue staying with them, and on October 10, 2014, the two asked her to leave, Geeta said.

She added that she approached the lawyer in the building where the Narayans stayed (Star CHS), who advised her to procure a succession certificate to establish her right over the property. Geeta alleged that the lawyer thought of a plan to prepare Mohan’s forged will.

What the cops say
Police commissioner Datta Padsalgikar said, “A case has been registered and investigation is underway.”

“We have registered a case at Dadar police station; the four accused have been arrested. As per the court directive, an investigation was conducted and the will submitted by the accused was found to be forged. We have already submitted our investigation report to the Bombay High court,” said deputy commissioner of police (zone V) Paramjit Singh Dahiya.

Anticipatory bail rejected
Fearing arrest by the Dadar police, the elder sister had moved an anticipatory bail plea on health grounds and submitted treatment papers, claiming that she had not been working during the period in question and had been shocked to learn about her name being dragged in the case.

Read Story: Bachelor's widow usurps SoBo flat worth crores

The court, however, rejected her application on November 28, directing the Dadar police not to take any coercive step against the applicant till December 15, so that she could approach the HC. The matter will come up for hearing on January 7, 2017.

Meanwhile, another wanted accused Shailesh Dharod, who signed as an executor of the ‘will’, too had applied for anticipatory bail, but that was rejected too. He’s said to have absconded, while even the sisters have not turned up before the police.

The other arrested
Besides Surve, Samadhan Pandit alias Sameer Shele (23), Amol Jagatkar (27) and Manish Patil (34), all of whom allegedly helped the maid procure the stamp paper and other things, too were arrested and sent to judicial custody.

Dos and don’ts
If possible, shoot a video of the person preparing the will. Also, make two youths as witnesses; if the person whose will it is is old and dies, the youths can submit the papers in court. Multiple copies of the will should be prepared, one copy should be kept in a bank locker, which should be opened in the presence of well-wishers and bank manages after the demise of the person whose will it is.

Register a will with the sub-registrar’s office. The beneficiary should be informed whom to contact and, if possible, a copy of the will should be shared with them. Along with the will, a doctor’s certificate should be annexed, stating that the person making the will is of sound health. The person making the will may appoint an executor, who will ensure that the various assets are distributed as per the desire of the person making the will.

- Advocate Vinod Sampat

Four
Number of people arrested so far

Rs 25k
Rate per square ft in Worli, where the flats are

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