Marsu Inas Sous died on January 1, 1949.
But Ronald Rodriques made him come alive on July 16, 2008, to sign a conveyance deed transferring two acres of land worth over Rs 81 lakh to Virendra Kumar Pandey for Rs 2.5 Lakh.
This is how 38-year-old Rodriques, a real estate agent, duped people. Rodriques would get people to fraudulently impersonate dead landowners and get them to sign land conveyance deeds to his accomplices. He would then sell the land to unsuspecting buyers.
The police have arrested Rodriques and seven of his accomplices.
More than 100 people have approached the police alleging that Rodriques fraudulently grabbed their land. Police suspect the fraud to run into more than Rs 100 crore. “Villagers are coming to us every day complaining against the accused,” said Police Sub-Inspector Ramesh Budhar of Gorai police station. Police have seized at least 82 property documents.
The police said in the first case Rodriques made a senior citizen from Thane, George Manco, pose as Sous.
Manco, who has an eyesight problem, was allegedly fooled into believing that he would be provided free medical treatment at a hospital and would have to sign some hospital papers for that.
He was instead taken to the talathi office and made to sign on the conveyance deed for Sous’ land. He was paid a measly Rs 50 and left to fend for himself.
The land was then transferred to Pandey, Rodriques’ accomplice. “I want to know how he (Rodriques) was able to transfer the property and no one from the concerned authorities took the pain to verify his claims,” said Jacinto D’souza (33), Sous’ great grandson and one of the complainants.
Jabel Rodriques (83), who was made to pose as Sera Hendricks, the title owner of 10 acres of land, was also arrested with two of her sons for helping Ronald. Jabel had posed as Hendricks who had died in 1985.
The police said there were many acres of open land lying unattended to in the villages of Gorai, Manori and Culvem. In many cases, the owners of the land died without willing the property to anyone.