Mira Bhayandar Vasai Virar police, which had originally registered the Zero FIR, says it is probing case; meanwhile, one more person harassed by the administrator comes forward with tales of his abuse of power
(From left) Residents who were allegedly harassed by Rocky Gonsalves—Bede Lopes, Peter Lopes, Melwin Titus and Ponraja Singh
- A zero FIR which was transferred by the MBVV police to the Palghar district police
- The Zero FIR in a cheating and forgery case was filed 10 days ago
- Taking advantage of confusion over jurisdiction, Gonsalves appears has into hiding
A zero FIR which was transferred by the Mira Bhayandar Vasai Virar (MBVV) police to the Palghar district police has been returned citing incorrect jurisdiction. The Zero FIR in a cheating and forgery case was filed 10 days ago against an empanelled administrator, Rocky Gonsalves, at Manikpur police station. According to Palghar police, the incident did not take place within their jurisdiction.
“The alleged offence was not done in our jurisdiction. So, we have returned the case files to the police station where it came from,” said Balasaheb Patil, superintendent of Palghar police. Zonal Deputy Commissioner of MBVV Police, Pournima Chougule-Shringi, said, “Yes, it has come back to us and Manikpur police are probing the matter. The accused Gonsalves has not been arrested, nor has he moved his anticipatory bail application (ABA) in Vasai court so far.”
Office of deputy registrar, Vasai
Taking advantage of the confusion over jurisdiction, Gonsalves appears to have gone into hiding. A source from Gonsalves’s neighbourhood in Vasai West said, “He is not available at his house, he must be hiding somewhere in Goa which he frequents.” The FIR against Gonsalves was registered by the deputy registrar of Vasai taluka, after efforts led by residents of the housing society where he served as administrator, revealed that his degree submitted to the Delhi University was fake.
Another victim appears
After mid-day’s report on the matter on November 27, Melwin Titus, approached Manikpur police to register an FIR against Gonsalves for criminal conspiracy and cheating. Titus was evicted from The Aashiana Co-Op Housing Society Ltd (CHSL), Naigaon, in August 2022. The society had Gonsalves as its administrator at the time.
“Gonsalves was appointed as administrator in The Aashiana CHSL with the help of his fake degree certificate. He controlled our society funds for 30 months; there was illegal construction on the rooftop of our building without permission from the local municipality. He looted our society of R15 lakh for his illegal rooftop work,” Titus said.
Melwin Titus with his complaint letter, with which he approached Manikpur police. Pics/Hanif Patel
Titus further claimed, “Because I raised my voice against Gonsalves, he began proceedings to evict me from the society. On August 26, 2022, I was evicted from the housing society by the then deputy registrar Yogesh Desai. I challenged the order, which was cancelled by the Divisional Joint Registrar on March 2, 2023.”
“I was under constant fear. My wife was pregnant when Gonsalves and Desai conspired to get us evicted. Gonsalves also sent a few women to my home, who screamed at me and my wife without reason. On April 22, I registered an NC against the women and a few society members conniving with Gonsalves,” Titus added.
Titus approached the Manikpur police to register an FIR on December 1. “Senior Police Inspector Raju Mane told me that one case is already registered against Gonsalves, so a fresh case cannot be filed. He also told me that only the deputy registrar can file an FIR against Gonsalves, who is the administrator. Mane asked me to be a witness in the existing FIR against Gonsalves. Why should I be a witness when I am the victim?” Titus said.
Titus cited a Supreme Court (SC) judgment which set aside a Bombay High Court order that quashed an FIR because it was not filed by the registrar. “The judgment was passed on July 25, 2023, by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud. The SC holds the view that the MCS Act of 1960 does not prohibit anyone other than the Registrar or Auditor from filing an FIR if criminal action arises,” Titus said.
Senior PI Mane of Manikpur police told mid-day, “One FIR is already registered against Gonsalves. As our investigation proceeds, we will record the statements of all the victims and keep adding the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code to the existing FIR. The accused is at large and our efforts are underway to arrest him.”
What is an administrator?
In Maharashtra, an administrator is appointed in a society by the deputy registrar to temporarily oversee daily activities until a new committee is elected and formed. The administrator cannot have powers exceeding those of a management committee and is required to manage it by the MCS Act, bylaws, and other relevant rules. According to Section 77A(3) of the MCS Act, an administrator cannot stay for more than 12 months in a cooperative society. However, with fraudulent empanelment, Rocky Gonsalves was granted free rein by the registrar’s authority to violate the law, neglect his duties, and overstay at multiple cooperative societies assigned to him. A November 14, 2019, order by the Divisional Joint Registrar of Cooperative Societies, Konkan Division, prohibits assigning more than three cooperative housing societies to one administrator.
Day Melwin Titus approached Manikpur police