This dirty rags to stinking riches story is a wannabe criminal's fairy tale. The more the Central Bureau of Investigation digs on Ashok Malhotra, the alleged kingpin of many a land scams, the more comes out of his evil empire — of luxury cars with VIP numbers, gold and stacked-up cash.
A flashback 20 years back shows a refugee camp dweller who started out as a tea vendor and graduated into selling chole bhature. Soon Malhotra bought a rickshaw riding which he would deliver goods to the Delhi assembly. His first big break came when he bagged the contract to run the canteen at the assembly. From then on the gravy train rolled.
Slowly building an intricate network of contacts and contracts, Malhotra went on adding to his wealth, hoodwinking the authorities all along the way. Investigations revealed a well-knit land mafia-politician nexus.
Malhotra's modus operandi, when it came to land fraud, is best stated in the CBI FIR which says that from 2000 to 2002, the then residents of Hudson Lane jhuggi jhopri area were to be resettled and each family was to be given a plot measuring 20.9 square meters each at Dheerpur, Phase I. However, the accused persons allotted a number of these plots in the names of fictitious persons using fake documents. They then sold these plots at exorbitant rates."
Raids on Malhotra and his associates helped unearth fake ration cards, official rubber stamps, original allotment letters of the plots. The icing on the cake was Malhotra’s 17 luxury cars with VIP numberplates, Rs 17 lakh cash and about 7 kg of gold. Who says crime doesn’t pay?