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Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019

Bizman Deven Mehta arrested in ₹10 crore cheating case refused bail

The Malabar Hill-based businessman was nabbed at the Mumbai airport on returning from France on June 13

mumbai Updated: Jul 11, 2019 00:06 IST
Vijay Kumar Yadav
Vijay Kumar Yadav
Hindustan Times
Deven Mehta’s bail application was rejected by the magistrate court.
Deven Mehta’s bail application was rejected by the magistrate court.(HT Photo)

Deven Mehta, one of the largest manufacturers of smart cards in India, who was arrested last month in a cheating case, was denied bail by a city magistrate court on Tuesday.

Mehta, the managing director of Smart Card IT Solutions (SCIT), allegedly cheated Hong Kong-based non-resident Indian (NRI) Yogesh Narottamdas Shah, 52, on the pretext of selling him a 5-acre plot in Raigad which fell under the forest department’s jurisdiction, for ₹10 crore.

The Malabar Hill-based businessman, against whom there was a look-out circular (LOC) issued, was nabbed at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai after returning from France on June 13. Mehta was arrested by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) on June 13 on the complaint of Shah, whose family lives in Mumbai.

According to EOW sources, Mehta’s legal representative, while seeking bail, submitted in the 47th magistrate court that Mehta has been falsely implicated in the case.

His lawyer stated that Mehta runs a company which has around 700 employees, which indicates he is deeply rooted in society.

The advocate further submitted to the court that the complainant filed the case to settle personal scores and to gain profit by pressuring Mehta and others by taking advantage of the situation.

Mehta’s lawyer also claimed that the first information report (FIR) suggests various loopholes in the story.

He said that Mehta has not derived any wrongful gain, monetary or otherwise, under the offence.

However, the prosecution opposed the bail contending that the offence is serious and the accused could tamper with evidence if released on bail. The accused may also dispose of the siphoned amount if released, the public prosecutor submitted in court on Tuesday.

Additional chief metropolitan magistrate SG Shaikh was convinced with the prosecution’s case and rejected Mehta’s application for bail.

As per the EOW’s case, the complainant got in contact with Mehta and his father Jitendra Mehta in 2007. In 2008, Mehta offered Shah a partnership in a 10-acre land deal worth ₹20 crore in Alibaug, Raigad. Acting as an agent, Mehta assured Shah that the land was not disputed. He said he could get Shah a 5-acre plot for ₹10 crore from the landowner, one Usha Dahanukar.

Shah agreed and in September 2008 he visited Mumbai along with his wife to sign the agreement papers. Later, he paid ₹9 crore to Mehta in instalments. Mehta did not directly take the money from Shah but instead requested him to transfer the money to accounts of 18 other individuals and companies based in Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong and USA.

When Shah had asked Mehta about the land documents, Mehta sent 7/12 extracts; an agreement copy of ₹1 crore; the title survey report of an advocate; agreement copy; and other documents through a courier to Hong Kong.

In September 2010, Shah learned that the said land fell under the forest category and it cannot be sold without the government’s permission. In 2013, Shah had the documents sent by Mehta verified and learned that they were forged. Shah did not take immediate action and tried to get back his money from Mehta directly. After his efforts failed, in 2016 he lodged a criminal complaint against Mehta.

“Investigations revealed that Mehta paid ₹28.86 lakh to the property owner Dahanukar, but sent a forged sale agreement to Shah claiming he paid her ₹1 crore. To back this, he also forged bank statements. The 7/12 extracts sent to Shah had Shah’s name on it, but cops discovered that the originals were still in the name of Dahanukar. Investigators also found that Mehta had forged the title survey report and non-agricultural order,” said an EOW officer who is part of the investigation.

Mehta has been charged under relevant sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC). The EOW had registed a similar case against him in 2018. He was also booked in a cheating and forgery case by the Azad Maidan police in 2014.