Redevelopment row: Produce missing woman, court tells police | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Redevelopment row: Produce missing woman, court tells police

The redevelopment of a Santacruz building has come under the scanner of the Bombay High Court following the alleged disappearance of an 82-year-old woman, a tenant in one of the buildings in Willingdon East Colony.

mumbai Updated: Dec 09, 2010 01:34 IST
Urvi Mahajani
Urvi Mahajani
Hindustan Times

The redevelopment of a Santacruz building has come under the scanner of the Bombay High Court following the alleged disappearance of an 82-year-old woman, a tenant in one of the buildings in Willingdon East Colony.

A division bench of justice AM Khanwilkar and justice AP Bhangale directed the police to produce Paulita D’Souza in court by December 14, while hearing a habeas corpus (produce the person in court) petition filed by her cousin, Joseph Nazareth, 59.

Nazreth had filed the petition alleging a nexus between the land mafia and the police after some of D’Souza’s neighbours at Bombay Catholic Co-Operative Housing Society told him that that she was missing since October 1.

Nazreth’s counsel Shirish Gupte and advocate Subodh Desai claimed: “The builder and even the church is involved in her disappearance, but the police have not done anything.”

According to the petition, several tenants had opposed the redevelopment of Willingdon East Colony by Sumer Associates and alleged that the builder was trying to usurp the property, on which D‘Souza and her family have been tenants for 90 years.

Nazreth has even made members of the church —Joseph Dias, Father Conrad Saldhana and Serv Ignatius (SPMC) — respondents in the petition. Gupte argued that church had illegally confined D’Souza.

Additional public prosecutor KV Saste told the court that the police had searched the premises of St Paul’s Jeevan Darshan Sanstha at Uttan in Bhayander, but did not find her

Gupte replied: “That’s the problem. They conduct a superficial search and then leave.”

Nazreth’s petition states that the respondents had tried to coerce D’Souza and other senior citizens to get admitted to an old age home, Stan, which they had refused.

The residents of the Bombay Catholic Co-Operative Housing Society have also filed a petition against the redevelopment, which is pending before the high court. In January, the court had directed the developer to maintain status quo in respect of the society.