A realtor honoured by Uttarakhand govt on the run in NH 74 scam
One and a half months ago, real estate developer Priya Sharma was awarded for her work by the Uttarakhand urban development ministry. Now, the special investigation team (SIT), probing the national highway 74 scam, is hot on her heels.dehradun Updated: Mar 14, 2018 21:58 IST
One and a half months ago, real estate developer Priya Sharma was awarded for her work by the Uttarakhand urban development ministry. Now, the special investigation team (SIT), probing the national highway 74 scam, is hot on her heels.
The scam involves compensations in crores of rupees to farmers for agricultural land, acquired for NH 74 expansion in Udham Singh Nagar, at commercial rates.
Sharma, 38, managing director of Allied Plus Infra and Others Pvt Ltd, and Sudhir Chawala, a director, are wanted by the police for alleged money laundering and fraud in the Rs 300-crore NH-74 scam. Both have gone underground since the first FIR was lodged with the Rudrapur police station on January 24.
On Tuesday, police seized her property and are likely to announce a reward on her if she does not surrender. Police have conducted raids in Haldwani, Ramnagar, Dehradun and Delhi, but failed to arrest Sharma and Chawala.
Sadanand Date, US Nagar senior superintendent of police, said, “She and her business partner must respect the law and surrender before the court or police immediately. SIT will keep raiding to nab them as both are wanted in NH-74 scam probe.”
The Uttarakhand high court had rejected Sharma’s petitions seeking quashing of the FIR and a stay on her arrest.
“Sharma and Chawla are now proclaimed offenders. If they don’t surrender or the SIT fails to arrest them, police may shortly announce a reward on them,” Date said.
A resident of Haldwani in Nainital district, Sharma was a manager in a real estate company in Rudrapur 7-8 years ago. She was ambitious and cherished the dream to become a big businesswoman, said sources close to her.
She developed contacts not only in the business community but also in bureaucracy and political field, the sources said. Sharma registered her Allied Plus Infra in 2014. Many bureaucrats and politicians invested their black money in her firm, the sources claimed.
“She is energetic, ambitious and stubborn, but over ambitiousness led her into trouble. Some big players in real estate, politics, bureaucracy and media, who were associated with Sharma, have left her after troubles started,” said Sushil Srivastava, a close acquaintance of Sharma. “Some of her employees have either resigned or have gone underground.”
Sharma’s firm developed half a dozen colonies under ‘Panchwati’ brand in Rudrapur and Kichha area. Last year, she hit headlines over her allegation that a senior IAS officer was demanding bribe over a disputed land in her possession.
“Everything was going smoothly and her business grew faster than that of any other player in the real estate sector. NH-74 scam spelled trouble for her,” a close acquaintance of Sharma said on condition of anonymity.
In the SIT probe, she was accused of laundering the compensation money provided to farmers. She was questioned twice by SIT, but she ruled out her involvement in the scam, officials close to the probe said.
Sharma was honoured in Dehradun by state urban development minister Madan Kaushik for providing better services in the real estate sector. Three days after the event, she and Chawala were booked by Rudrapur police for fraud. Another FIR was lodged against the two on March 4 at Kichha police station.