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(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Journalist, realtor arrested for torturing man to usurp his Chandigarh house

Illegally confined him in his house in April 2017, when the duo, along with several others, executed the plan to transfer the GPA and sell the 338 square yards property by March 2019
By HT Correspondent, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 02:27 AM IST

Probing into the gruesome kidnapping and torture of a 48-year-old man, the only surviving heir of his family, the police on Tuesday arrested a journalist and a property dealer, who usurped his Sector-37 house and sold it illegally for 2.9 crore in March 2019.

The journalist, Sanjeev Mahajan, who has been terminated by the leading Hindi newspaper that he worked for, and realtor Manish Gupta, pulled all stops with the help of the brother of a Chandigarh DSP, a bouncer, a liquor contractor and multiple property dealers to grab the 338 square yards house and sell it to Gupta’s brother Saurabh Gupta, said investigators.

The ordeal of the victim, Rahul Mehta, started in April 2017 when he was illegally confined in his house, and forcibly made to transfer the general power of attorney (GPA) to the main accused’s accomplices, and later abandoned at a stud farm in Gujarat.

Over the past years, he was shifted to various ashrams and is now being taken care of at a similar institution in Delhi.

The legal action in the matter came now following an anonymous complaint at one of the single window enquiries managed by the Chandigarh Police.

Among the multiple accused named in the FIR are Sanjeev; Manish; Saurabh; businessman Khalendra Singh Kadyan and liquor contractor Arvind Singla, to whom the GPA was transferred; Satpal Dagar, the brother of UT DSP Ram Gopal, and slain bouncer Surjit Singh.

“A special investigation team (SIT) has been constituted, comprising ASP Shruti Arora, Sector 31 SHO police station Narinder Patial and Burail police post in-charge sub-inspector Om Prakash, to probe the case. No one will be spared,” said Kuldeep Singh Chahal, senior superintendent of police, Chandigarh.

“Names of other police officials have also cropped up and their role is being investigated,” he added.

Victim tortured to transfer GPA

As per the preliminary inquiry, conducted by deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Devinder Kumar Sharma, Rahul was the sole heir of House Number 340 in Sector 37-A, since his parents and brother had died.

Facing multiple health issues, Rahul was living alone in the house, when Sanjeev and Manish conspired to grab the property.

“They confined him in a room of the house and tortured him for over a month. They got the GPA of the house transferred to Arvind and Khalinder, which authorised them to transfer the ownership of the property,” said assistant superintendent of police (ASP, South), Shruti Arora.

Abandoned at stud farm in Gujarat

Police investigations found out that between June-July 2017, Surjit dropped off Rahul at a stud farm, owned by one Abdul Karim, in Bhuj, Gujarat.

According to Abdul, Surjit, who was shot dead in March 2020, had told him that Rahul was homeless and needed a place to stay. When Surjit did not return for a long time, Abdul sent Rahul to Manavjoth Ram Dev Seva Ashram in Bhuj.

In March 2018, Rahul was taken to Kajrat Foundation in Maharashtra and from there, further to Apna Ghar Ashram in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, and its branch in New Delhi, where he is now lodged.

Police said while Rahul was at Bharatpur, the accused sold the house to Saurabh in March 2019. “They executed a sale deed in favour of Saurabh by presenting a proxy of Rahul before the sub-registrar, Estate Office, Chandigarh,” the ASP added.

All accused are facing charges under Sections 452 (house-trespass), 331 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt to extort confession, or to compel restoration of property), 365 (kidnapping), 386 (extortion), 420 (cheating), 465 (forgery), 477 (fraudulent cancellation, destruction, etc., of will, authori¬ty to adopt, or valuable security) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

The arrested duo were produced before a court on Tuesday and sent to police custody till March 5.

SOLITARY HEIR’S NIGHTMARE

April 2017: Accused confine Rahul Mehta, only heir of his family, in his 338 square yards house and illegally occupy the property. Torture him and forcibly ready GPA in favour of liquor contractor Arvind Singla and businessman Khalinder Singh Kadian

June-July 2017: Abandon victim at a stud farm in Bhuj, Gujarat

March 2018-till date: Victim shifted to multiple institutions between Maharashtra, Rajasthan and New Delhi, where he is now living at an ashram

March 1, 2019: Sale deed of the property prepared in the name of Sourabh Gupta, brother of realtor Manish Gupta, and house sold for 2.9 crore

March 2, 2021: Journalist Sanjeev Mahajan and Manish arrested by the police following an anonymous tip.

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