Locked out by landlord, 53-yr-old still homeless 2 months after filing FIR | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Locked out by landlord, 53-yr-old still homeless 2 months after filing FIR

When Nita Chotalal, 53, returned to her Santacruz home on July 20, she was in for a shock — the door locks had been changed by her landlord.

mumbai Updated: Sep 18, 2014 16:40 IST
Farhan Shaikh

When Nita Chotalal, 53, returned to her Santacruz home on July 20, she was in for a shock — the door locks had been changed by her landlord.

Unable to enter the house, she immediately approached the Santacruz police and an FIR was filed. Two months later, the school teacher, who sought voluntary retirement and had been living there alone since her mother passed away on July 6, is putting up with friends and wearing borrowed clothes, thanks to alleged police inaction.

According to Chotalal, she had been living at the rented apartment in Prem Villa, with her parents, for the last 50 years. After her father died in 2003, she continued to live there with her mother. But on July 20, her landlords denied her entry, claiming her mother was the sole tenant of flat.

When Chotalal went back into the flat with an additional registrar, following the orders of a small causes court in Bandra, she realised her house had been ransacked and many of her belongings were missing. The Santacruz police had, however, only registered a case of trespassing, wrongful restraint and criminal intimidation against her landlord Surjeet Singh Chandhok and his son, Princey.

In an attempt to get charges of theft added to the case, she approached Satyanarayan Chaudhari, the zonal deputy commissioner of police (DCP), who assured her he would take up the issue.

“Jewellery, cash, books, a laptop and several other belongings were missing from the house. The DCP had promised to help, but no action was taken. It was after I met police commissioner Rakesh Maria, that the Santacruz police added sections of theft, on September 11,” said Chotalal.
On the delay in action, Chaudhari told HT, “We will verify their [landlord’s] role and will take action in accordance with the ?law. We have registered the case and will soon file a charge sheet. We are investigating the case.”

On Wednesday, the Chandhoks were granted anticipatory bail, making it impossible for the police to now arrest them. Chaudhari said the police would seek the advice of the public prosecutor before challenging the anticipatory bail. “We will study the case thoroughly before deciding our next move,” he said.

“The sections we had applied to the case initially were bailable as we were establishing facts at the time,” Bhimshankar Dhole, the inspector in-charge of the investigations, told HT.

The Chandhok family, however, remained unavailable for comment, despite repeated attempts.

Chotalal remains homeless. “The police have failed to arrest them and deliver justice, even two months later. I have lost faith in the police,” she said.