Three held for duping at least 30 with promise of MHADA houses.
Fake stamps, MHADA letterheads among other forged documents recovered.
The Mumbai Crime Branch on Tuesday arrested three men for allegedly duping scores of people in the city by taking advantage of their desperation to buy a house.
According to the cops, the accused mostly preyed on those looking to buy a house through the Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority (MHADA) lottery system.
In fact, two of the three accused were arrested from the MHADA office premises in Bandra East.
On August 13, officials of Crime Branch Unit 9 received information that one of the three accused identified as Nasir Hussain was going to meet a potential target in Khar with fake documents related to a MHADA flat.
A trap was laid and Hussain was subsequently nabbed. Upon scrutinising the forged papers, an FIR was registered at Khar police station.
The documents recovered for Hussain Nasir were verified with the help of MHADA which testified that they were not original.
During interrogations, Hussain gave away the identities of his two associates – Shahul Shaikh and Pratik Thorat.
A crime branch official told Mirror, “Inspector Mahesh Desai and his team traced Thorat and Shaikh to the MHADA office in Bandra and arrested them from there. It is suspected that the trio has cheated over thirty people who were looking to buy MHADA flats. We are now in the process of contacting the victims.”
Based on their questioning, the police have learnt that their modus operandi was to first find a needy flat buyer, convince him that they had ‘connections in higher places’ which would make it easier for them to secure a flat if the buyer agreed to ‘grease some palms’.
The official added that their other strategy was to procure a list of those who were allotted the flats but were finding it difficult to complete the formalities as they lacked documents. The accused would approach these people on the pretext of helping them secure these documents in exchange for a hefty fee. Once they received the money, they would give them forged documents.
The accused reportedly asked anywhere between Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.
A senior crime branch official said, “Following their arrest, we have recovered fake stamps, forged MHADA letterheads, deposit receipts and allotment letters among others from their possession.”