After 10 months of chasing the kingpin of a low-cost housing racket — a 50-year-old woman — that swindled around 30 people of crores of rupees, the Tardeo police on Thursday arrested the woman, who is also allegedly a Congress party worker from Mazgaon.
“The fraud was first exposed last March when a family complained to us that they were duped of over Rs 38.6 lakh after being promised MHADA flats. We arrested Suryakant Nakashe (59), who had posed as a MHADA official, and Sudhir Joshi (40) who posed as an agent.
We learned that the mastermind was Anuradha Jadhav, who is a Congress party worker,” said ASI A K Pathare of the Tardeo police station.
“She operated under various aliases and we’d been chasing her across Maharashtra for 10 months. On Thursday, we got a tip-off that she was coming to her house in Navghar. We laid a trap and arrested Jadhav, her son Ajinkya (25) and her manager Ramesh Gangan (66),” said Police Inspector P Kunte.
The Tardeo police said the racket began operating in 2007, when the ‘agents’ assured investors of possession of flats within a fortnight. The fortnight extended to weeks, then months and finally a year, but the investors got neither the promised flats nor their deposits.
“Jadhav, using her contacts, would lure investors, take them to MHADA localities and show vacant flats. Her accomplices, posing as senior MHADA officials, would assure the investors of quick possession of the flats, said Pathare. The accused would then take an initial advance from the investors and give them some kind of receipt.
All the investors are from modest backgrounds and had emptied their savings to buy these flats. “A housewife who had given the accused Rs 18 lakh for a flat is now working as a housemaid, another investor died from the strain of the loans he had taken,” said Pathare.
Amin Patel, Congress leader and legislator, said he did not know if Jadhav is a Congress worker: “We have around one lakh members across the city. I wouldn’t know if Jadhav is affiliated to our party.”