A 42-year-old chef-turned-builder who had allegedly cheated 3,000 investors of an estimated Rs 25 crore by promising them non-existent residential plots in Maharashtra's Navi Mumbai was arrested, the police said on Friday.
Identified as Ashley Noel Concessio, who had entered the real estate sector after a stint as a chef and having been 'a marketing man', the accused was arrested from Mumbai's Andheri (east) by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW), said Sandeep Goel, joint CP (EOW).
"He has seven criminal cases registered against him and, in the present case, had cheated around 115 employees of IFFCO of at least Rs 1.25 crore. So far, more than 400 complaints have been received against him and his company," said joint CP Goel.
Police said the matter pertains to corporate bookings which were made by a group of employees of IFFCO, located at Saket, in lieu of a residential plots project namely 'Pragati Valley' at Karzat near Navi Mumbai.
The said project, the EOW said, had been launched by 'Pragati Land & Housing Corporation (PLHC)' and reportedly had all the required government approvals.
"It was launched by Concessio, as the proprietor, in 2005. At the time, there had been a government proposal for the construction of an international airport at Navi Mumbai and the said area had seen a boom in real estate prices as a result of which a large number of builders had pre-launched their projects," joint CP Goel said.
The company then advertised the said project in the NCR and around 5,000 plots had been booked and sold in Delhi with Concessio, through his agents, collecting approximately Rs 25 crore from investors.
It came to light later that the firm had purchased some agricultural land in and around the Karzat Tehsil but failed to get the necessary government approvals.
"The said project could not come up and Concessio had simply sold the land and fled with the amount," Goel added.