THANE: A 24-acre farm plot in Ambarnath taluka, worth its value in gold, is suspected to have been usurped by a criminal cartel of builders and fraudsters who fabricated revenue documents to classify the land as Non-Agriculture (NA) and secured a host of permissions from the authorities for construction activity.
The farm land located in Sape village, 50 km from Thane, was sold off to one Poddar Developers, who secured a go-ahead from the town planning department and the MMRDA, which is the planning authority in the region, for construction activity based on fraudulent NA sanctions, according to a criminal complaint registered by the MMRDA planning officer with the Thane Nagar police recently. According to the complaint, the permission for NA and construction activity on the 24 acre plot sold to Poddar Developers on January 19, 2011 were never issued.
MMRDA’s Amit Sawant in his complaint has said the fake NA permissions were presented to the office of the assistant director of town planning at Thane collectorate and obtained the construction permission. The fake letter had the seal and signature of the head of the planning department, Uma Adusumilli, which she claimed were manufactured. The fraud was exposed following a probe initiated by the MMRDA on a complainant by a citizen, R R Rahalkar, who obtained copies of the fake letters using the RTI Act.
An offence under sections 420 cheating, 467 forgery, 468 and 471 of the IPC has been registered against unidentified persons with the Thane Nagar police station. No arrests have been made so far in connection with the mega fraud. The police said the needle of suspicion in this case points to Poddar Developers who would derive maximum benefit from the change of users and the construction activity.
Industry observers said a criminal cartel of builders, political functionaries and local agents familiar with the functioning of the bureaucracy and the paper-work were misusing the system by manufacturing fake consent documents and undertaking developments of farm plots for second homes project in the green surroundings.
In fact, a similar fraud came to the fore when a Mira Road-based builder exploited the red-tape in the administration and in cahoots with a section of the babudom usurped prime plots in the suburbs, ideally meant to be surrendered to the government for affordable housing projects under ULCRA.
Credit ET Realty