Hours after the police rounded up 12 so-called security guards from Santos Villa in Bandra — Hindustan Times had reported on December 25 how the old man was allegedly being harassed by a local builder — the police released them at 11 pm the same day and “advised them to return to the bungalow to maintain law and order”.
This, after a complaint lodged by Domingo Santos, owner of the villa, that the men had been deployed by local real estate agent Jeremiah D’Souza, who wanted to grab his Rs 18-crore property.
Santos’s complaint had alleged that the goons were harassing him by cutting off his water and power supply. He had also identified before the police Srikrishna Singh, who allegedly pointed a gun at him three months ago.
“We have warned the 12 security guys not to harass the old man. We have also asked them to maintain law and order on the premises,” said Senior Police Inspector Laxman Bhure.
Hindustan Times then contacted Police Commissioner AN Roy and Additional Police Commissioner Bipin Bihari informed them about the status of the case. Police protection was provided to Santos through the night.
"According to records available with the police, the property belongs to D’Souza," said Police Inspector Sanjay Patil. “Moreover, the three security guards have been appointed by Santos.”
Santos, however, insists he did not appoint the security guards. “I have not done anything wrong in my life, why would I need security guards?” he said. He also maintained that he never sold the property to D’Souza.
He signed a bunch of papers when the agent was helping him get the bungalow repaired, he insists. He didn’t read them as he had known the man for years and trusted him, he told HT.
Patil said he was unaware of these details. He also did not know of the affidavit Santos filed in court, declaring that he never sold his property to anyone.
“Since the High Court has ordered that the case be transferred to the crime branch, Santos should approach them,” Patil later said. “For my part, I will make sure that he is not harassed in the future.”
D’Souza, meanwhile, maintained that he was the owner of the property and said he had great difficulty getting his security guards released. And, one of the alleged goons, Pawan Rai told HT that the police asked him how the media was let in.