Mira-Bhayandar: With the arrest of three persons, the Kashimira Police have claimed to have unearthed a scam perpetrated under the pretext of providing housing using the Central Government’s Basic Services to Urban Poor (BSUP) scheme which is carried out by the Mira-Bhayandar Municipal Corporation. The racket is likely to run into several crores of rupees.
Three out of five persons, identified as Ashish Nagina Chauhan, Harihar Chauhan and Amrutlal Pal, arrested in this connection on Friday have been accused of duping at least eight home buyers of several lakhs of rupees. Police suspect that the number of those duped is much more as the gang has been operating since 2015. The police are on the lookout for their other two accomplices.
Buyers lured with false documents
The scam came to light when a 58-year-old Dahisar resident lodged a complaint of cheating against the racketeers who duped him of ₹7 lakh in 2015 under the pretext of booking a unit for him in the BSUP project in MBMC limits. Seven more people duped in a similar manner have also registered their complaints.
It has also come to light that the accused were in possession of official lists of allotted flats and other documents related to actual beneficiaries, indicating an inside hand in the crime.
The gang members would identify needy flat buyers who were not the actual beneficiaries of the project and lure them by boasting about their connections with high-ranking officials. They would ask the prospective buyers to pay up anywhere between ₹7 lakh to ₹10 lakh for a unit and give them forged documents like-ration cards having the address of the tenement and the slum survey list with the name of the victim as a Delayed potential beneficiary.
Delayed cluster development
The Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) had identified two slum clusters namely Janta Nagar and Kranti Nagar to construct 4,136 housing units with a carpet area of 279 sq.ft. per unit in 2009. While the number of units came down to 2,160 due to inordinate delay in the construction of the project owing to lack of funds in the corporation kitty, only 473 slum dwellers have been rehabilitated so far. Thousands of other eligible beneficiaries continue to live in transit accommodations.
The gang took advantage of this delay and uncertainty looming over the completion of the project.
Meanwhile, an offence under sections 420,465, 467,468 and 34 of the IPC against the trio who have been remanded to custody.