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EOW of Mumbai police files charge sheet against builder for duping homebuyers of Rs51 crore

Dipesh Bhagtani along with his father and brother allegedly cheated 446 homebuyers by promising them houses in Mira Road

mumbai Updated: Apr 10, 2018 11:14 IST
Vijay Kumar Yadav
Vijay Kumar Yadav
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,EOW,real estate
A police official said that during investigation, they found that homebuyers’ money was diverted to the personal accounts of accused builder and his family members and the funds were diverted to other projects.(REPRESENTATIONAL PHOTO/HT FILE)

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Mumbai police on Monday filed charge sheet against builder Dipesh Bhagtani of Jaycee Homes, in one of the biggest housing frauds of the city in recent years.

Police charged Bhagtani, who was arrested by EOW on January 11 for cheating, criminal conspiracy, breach of trust and under stringent Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act (MOFA) sections.

Dipesh along with his father Laxman Bhagtani and brother Mukesh allegedly cheated 446 homebuyers of around Rs51crore by promising them houses in Mira Road under the project ‘Bhagtani Rio’.

Dipesh is in judicial custody and is lodged at Arthur Road jail. His father and brother are also accused in all the cases and believed to be hiding in Dubai, EOW sources claimed.

The family has five FIRs registered against them for cheating around 2,500 homebuyers.

Deputy commissioner of police (EOW) Parag Manere confirmed that charge sheet has been filed against Dipesh in one case.

An EOW official said that during investigations it was found that the builder lied to investors saying that he through his firm JVPD private Ltd is constructing a housing project ‘Bhagtani Rio’ on a land (survey 95, part 1) in Kashi village, Mira Road.

But, the land is the state government’s property.

The builder also lied to investors through brochures, saying that he had taken permission from the civic body for construction work. He did not register the agreements with the investors and just gave them allotment letters.

He took an advance of Rs50.78crore from 446 investors but did not give them flats.

Investigating officer assistant inspector Pravin Bhagat filed a 1,200-page charge sheet against Bhagtani in 47th magistrate court on Monday.

The accused is charged under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant or by banker, merchant or agent), 420 (cheating) and 34 (common intention) of Indian Penal Code and 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 13 and 14 of MOFA.

The statements of 90 witnesses have been recorded and strong documentary evidences have been attached in the charge sheet, claimed the EOW.

“During investigation, we found that homebuyers’ money was diverted to the personal accounts of accused builder and his family members and the funds diverted to other projects. Bank accounts linked to the accused have been frozen,” said an EOW official.

Probe also indicated that there is a possibility that funds could have been diverted outside the country. Hence, the government has appointed a forensic auditor to trace the money trail. Enforcement Directorate is all making an enquiry if there was any money laundering.

The builder claimed to have refunded a part of the money to some homebuyers.

First Published: Apr 10, 2018 11:14 IST