Ex-Vasai corporator arrested for constructing 41 illegal buildings in Achole
The Economic Offences Wing of Mira-Bhayander-Vasai-Virar police arrested Gupta on Wednesday. He has been remanded in police custody till September 27. Recently, the police unearthed that Gupta had allegedly prepared a bogus completion certificate for one of the buildings issued in the name of CIDCO and the Vasai-Virar City Municipal Corporation (VVCMC).
Mumbai: Sitaram Gupta, a former corporator of the Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) party in the Vasai-Virar region, was recently arrested for allegedly grabbing around 60 acres of land belonging to a few private individuals and constructing 41 illegal buildings in the Achole area, Vasai East, two decades ago.
The Economic Offences Wing of Mira-Bhayander-Vasai-Virar police arrested Gupta on Wednesday. He has been remanded in police custody till September 27.
Recently, the police unearthed that Gupta had allegedly prepared a bogus completion certificate for one of the buildings issued in the name of CIDCO and the Vasai-Virar City Municipal Corporation (VVCMC).
The FIR was registered in June this year under sections 420, 447, 465, 467, 468, 471, 474 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code. Gupta and his associate Vijay Tambat alias Vijay Salvi since the case was registered.
According to the police, Gupta along with his brother Arun Gupta and their accomplices had acquired 30 acres of land belonging to private owners and an additional 30 acres of land reserved for water purification plants and dumping grounds and sold it to various builders after acquiring fake ownership documents.
“Since 2008, I have been attempting to get an FIR registered and get Gupta arrested, but for years he had been evading the law,” Ajay Sharma, the complainant, said. He is the caretaker of the 30 acres of land whose owners live in New Zealand and Canada. Sharma, who was also the power of attorney holder for 10 acres of the land worth crores of rupees, said that the Guptas made bogus documents for the land and sold it to the builders.
In 2008, when Sharma went to the spot to inspect the land, he noticed that Prime Property Developers were constructing buildings there. “When I asked for the documents, Gupta and his associates assaulted me after which I approached the Nalasopara police and a case was registered against them,” Sharma, a resident of Vasai West, said.
In 2020, he got an RTI reply from the municipal corporation that the construction on the land was illegal. Astonishingly, Sharma said, the VVCMC allowed the construction of the buildings and granted planning permission without verifying that the documents produced by the accused were genuine.
Currently, more than 200 families are residing in the illegally constructed buildings.
After the fraud came to light, VVCMC issued notices to the buildings to be evacuated but till now people are living in the buildings and are in fear of losing their homes. While rejecting his anticipatory bail plea, the Bombay high court had in July this year observed that Gupta was the mastermind behind the scam.
Based on the complaint filed by the municipal corporation, the Achole police had earlier arrested Arun and launched a manhunt to trace his brother who was arrested in Mumbai.
Sharma said that Gupta and his associates had acquired the land using the name of underworld gangster Chhota Rajan. The police are yet to verify if they had any connection with the jailed gangster.
Earlier in August, the Virar police unearthed a scam where the accused had constructed 55 residential buildings within the jurisdiction of the VVCMC, allegedly by using forged and fabricated documents. They were also found in possession of fake stamps, and letterheads of several agencies like CIDCO, MahaRERA, revenue officials, and civic officials. After the construction of the buildings, the builders sold flats to unsuspecting buyers and around 3,500 families have been living in the buildings.
The Virar police have identified approximately 80 files related to buildings that were constructed using forged and fabricated documents.
In connection with the case, authorities have arrested five people, including Dilip Benvanshi, the proprietor of Rudransh Developers, his associate Prashant Patil, and their collaborators Machindra Vanmane, Dilip Adhkale and Rajesh Naik.