A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Saturday issued a non-bailable warrant against Ashok Malhotra, the prime suspect in a land scam running into millions of rupees, after he failed to appear before the investigating agency.
"The court has issued a non-bailable warrant against Malhotra as he didn't turn up for the investigations after repeated notices to him," a senior CBI official said.
"We have also sent teams to his possible hideouts in the Capital and the neighbouring states. He will be arrested shortly," the official added.
Asked about reports that Malhotra had managed to escape the country, the official refused to comment.
Malhotra, who ostensibly runs a canteen in the Delhi Secretariat among other enterprises, is known for his proximity to some key Delhi politicians.
The CBI probe began after his name figured along with five Delhi Development Authority (DDA) officials for the illegal allotment of plots in Dheerpur area of northwest Delhi under fictitious names and sale of these plots at exorbitant prices.
Malhotra had allegedly siphoned off millions of rupees in association with the five DDA officials and a private contractor by selling plots meant for allotment to displaced slum-dwellers.
According to CBI sources, Malhotra was also involved in selling plots of land under other resettlement schemes of DDA to people with fake identities. The scam reportedly took place between 2000 and 2002.
"His assets and luxury cars must be easily worth Rs 1 billion," claimed an officer involved in the probe.
The CBI had also claimed to have found several incriminating documents related to the land scam, Rs 1.7 million, 7 kg of gold and at least 50 luxury cars and 10 motorcycles - all bearing VIP number plates - from Malhotra's residence.
The CBI last month registered a case against the five DDA officers - deputy directors KS Verma and AK Mishra, assistant director JR Gaur and assistant engineers Shyam Babu and SK Sharma - for their alleged role in the scam.