A city-based property dealer allegedly connived with an officer of the economic offences wing (EOW) of Gurugram police, a Delhi government revenue department official and an advocate to forge a general power of attorney (GPA) and capture a land belonging to an NRI worth ₹40 crore, police said on Thursday.
Police said five suspects — dealer Subhash Chand (52), assistant sub-inspector Pardeep Kumar (46), Kalkaji tehsil office record keeper Sanjay Goswami (35), advocate Toni Yadav (30), and Bheem Singh Rathi — were arrested by a special investigation team formed recently to probe the case, on the orders of Gurugram police commissioner Vikas Kumar Arora.
Police said Chand zeroed in on 1.87 acres owned by NRI Puran Manchanda (75), along the Southern Peripheral Road in early 2021. He later took steps to allegedly grab the land using a forged GPA, which was shown to be registered at the Kalkaji office in 1996. SIT officers said all forgeries took place between October and November 2021.
Investigators said Chand and his nephew Yadav used forged signatures of major PK Mehra and an advocate named Sandeep, who didn’t even exist, as witnesses to the GPA. They said the army officer died along with five others in a chopper crash near Mussoorie on January 4, 2001. They forged his signature to lend credibility to the GPA as he was both an army officer and Manchanda’s relative
They said that Chand and Yadav were arrested from Gurugram on September 19 and on the basis of their interrogation, Goswami was arrested from Delhi on September 20. Later, another suspect, Bheem Singh Rathi, was arrested on September 26 and finally the police officer was nabbed on Wednesday.
Police said Chand used Goswami, who was Yadav’s contact, to sneak out the registry record register of 1996 from the Kalkaji office, which contained all the original GPAs prepared that year.
A senior police officer, privy to the case, said Chand made a photocopy of the original records, except one, and destroyed all of them.
“He prepared a fresh register using the photocopies, and included in it the forged GPA, and returned the register to Kalkaji office,” he said.
The officer said Goswami later tore off a page in the running register of 1996 to get rid of the record of the GPA which was replaced with the fake GPA, showing that Manchanda had authorised Chand to sell his property.
Investigators said later, Chand submitted an application for a certified copy of the GPA and thus got a copy from the tehsil office to rule out even a distant suspicion that the document was forged.
Police said Chand later got the property registered in the name of Rathi, a woman named Shail Narang and Vinod Kumar from Gurugram on the basis of postdated cheques showing that they will pay him ₹6.6 crore. No actual transaction took place, said the SIT.
Before they could sell the plot for a hefty sum, Manchanda got to know about the conspiracy and submitted a police complaint on basis of which an FIR was registered under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of valuable security or will), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and 471 (fraudulently using forged document) at Badshahpur police station on March 16, 2022. The case was handed over to EOW of Gurugram police.
ASI Pardeep Kumar, also connived with the suspects for money, and misled the probe, the SIT said, adding that they need to ascertain the amount he was paid.
“EOW acquired a copy of the GPA from Kalkaji tehsil and sent it for forensic analysis. But the results stated that Manchanda’s signature was original. This happened because Chand had taken a certified copy of the registered deed of Manchanda’s plot from the Gurugram registry office and scanned his signature and photograph from it to place on the forged GPA,” a senior investigator said.
“However, after the SIT was formed, it launched a detailed investigation to find that only the registry book of 1996 of Kalkaji tehsil contained photocopied documents while all others had originals. This was the first breakthrough. Later, we noticed the torn page in the running register and things became clear,” he said.
They said the Goswami received ₹5 lakh for providing the records from Kalkaji office. Police said at least three more suspects are yet to be arrested in the case.
Investigators said that provisions of The Prevention of Corruption Act were invoked in Manchanda’s FIR against the ASI to arrest him.
Police commissioner Arora said,“Stern action will be taken against any personnel found involved in malpractices.”