Mumbai Crime: Mother-daughter dupe former sheriff of Rs 1 Crore
Agreeing to help complete Bollywood film with interest-free cash finance in exchange for share in royalty lands Dr Jagannath Hegde in soup as mother-daughter producer team file complaint of unaccounted wealth with I-T dept
After a lengthy court battle, a former city sheriff, who is also a dental surgeon, has won an order in his favour to get back the Rs 1 crore he had lent to a producer mother-daughter duo for their movie. The surgeon, Dr Jagannath Hegde, had financed their movie Bandhistan in August 2012, but till date, he has not received a rupee of the money promised to him.
The accused duo are mother Panchali and daughter Purnima Chakravarty of In Depth Entertaining Arts Pvt Ltd, a production house based in Andheri West. The Bhoiwada court on March 30 convicted them for dishonouring a cheque issued to Dr. Hegde, who had helped finance their movie in August 2012 through an interest-free loan of Rs 1 crore. The Chakravartys were supposed to return the money after giving post-dated cheques and a promissory note, none of which have been honoured by them to this day. They had also assured Dr Hegde a share in the royalty of the movie post its release, which never happened either.
In the order (mid-day has a copy) issued on March 30, metropolitan magistrate R S Pere, found the mother and daughter guilty under section 138, read with 141, of the Negotiable Instrument Act and section 255 (2) of Criminal Procedure Code. He sentenced the accused to simple imprisonment for 18 months.
Over the payment of the principal Rs 1 crore given to them, the accused have also been directed to pay an additional compensation of Rs 5 lakh to Dr. Hegde within 60 days of the order being issued. If they default on the payment, they would have to spend an additional three months in jail.
'Gave in good faith'
Dr. Hegde's advocate Ajay Panicker said during the course of this trial, the accused denied receiving any money from Dr. Hegde, but, "Upon being shown the promissory notes and cheques they'd issued, the court accepted our evidence." The women also made complaints of unaccounted wealth against Dr. Hegde before the Income Tax authorities, who issued a show cause notice to Dr Hegde seeking clarification. That matter is pending before the I-T assessment officers regarding the penalty for not disclosing cash in hand.
Speaking to mid-day about how he was duped by the duo, Dr Hegde, 76, said, "For the last six years, I have been running to all three courts [magistrate, sessions and high court] to get back the money I had given in good faith and at the behest of my dear friend Kishore Shah. He had assured me that he would return the money in case of any default and [along with the mother-daughter] also gave the promissory note and post-dated cheques, none of which were honoured."
When he gave the money to the accused, Dr Hegde was promised he'd get it back within two months, "I did not know them. They were literally at my feet seeking financial assistance to complete their movie. I was supposed to get my money back in two months; it has been six years since, and neither have I got my money back with interest [as per a Bombay High Court order], nor have I received the principal amount."
No reason to suspect
His friend has been of no help either. He added, "My lawyer had obtained a decree from HC against Shah to seize his property and industrial units. But we later learnt that all of his properties have already been mortgaged with banks; he has not cleared his loans either. What do I do with such a property? I haven't got my money back until now."
Asked if he felt betrayed by his friend, Dr Hegde said, "I had no reason to suspect him or the women, they had given promissory notes along with their post dated cheques of R50 lakh each, which was to be honoured in October 2012. But they visited me and pleaded for extension of time, issuing new promissory notes and cheques. This kept on happening, with no cheques ever being honoured."
Panicker said, "We have also filed another case of cheating against the daughter and Shah at Kalachowkie police station in 2015. The police have prepared a charge sheet and the matter is pending before the metropolitan magistrate court in Sewri since 2017."
He added, "The magistrate and sessions court rejected their anticipatory bail in 2016 when they failed to return the money within the stipulated time as assured before the Bombay HC. At the end of 2016, the HC rejected their plea too, and subsequently, they were arrested by the Kalachowkie police and later released on bail."
Panicker said the court will now issue an arrest warrant against the accused and direct the police station in whose jurisdiction they reside to execute the order.
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