Warrant issued against Subrata Roy, 4 Sahara officials for cheating

Monday, January 24, 2011

NEW DELHI - A Delhi court Monday issued a bailable warrant against Sahara India group’s chairman Subrata Roy and four other officials of the group on a complaint that they duped investors in a proposed housing project of Rs.25,000 crore, holding there was enough prima facie material to proceed.

A statement issued by the Sahara India group, however, said the “entire complaint is based on false and frivolous allegations”.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav asked Delhi Police to execute the warrant by Feb 9.

The court passed its order after conducting an inquiry and recording the testimony of complainant Neeraj Pandey and his wife Beena, who alleged they were not allotted a flat even after investing over Rs.one lakh in the proposed housing project ‘Sahara Swaran Yojana’ in the National Capital Region in 2003.

Pandey, one of the applicants in the housing scheme, filed the compliant against six respondents, including Roy, deputy managing directors Om Prakash Srivastava, Joy Broto Roy and Swapna Roy and Delhi Projects in-charge H.S.Rawat.

“It is also apparent that false promises were held out to the general public through brochures/booklets which prima facie amounts to forging the documents. In my opinion, there is prima facie enough material on record to proceed against them for offences punishable under Sections 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 120B (conspiracy) of the IPC,” Yadav said.

Pandey’s advocate Ashutosh Bhardwaj alleged the company had fraudulently collected Rs.1 lakh from 25,000 investors each with the false promise of allotting a flat in the project which never took off.

He also alleged the company had illegally routed the money collected from investors for the housing project to other ventures.

The company had launched the scheme for developing 217 townships all over the country, including the NCR region, he said.

In the complaint filed on April 12, 2009, it was alleged that despite the promise made in 2003, no progress was made in its project in the NCR region and the company, after six years, offered to return Rs 1.58 lakh.

Pandey approached the court seeking action against the company and its officials after police did not act on his complaint of cheating, forgery and criminal intimidation.

“It is apparent that till date no allotment has been made to the complainant. It is also apparent that even the site of the township has not been disclosed to him, giving rise to the presumption that despite collecting money from the proposed allottee, the township has not been established,” the court said.

The court noted that the company did not even acquire the land for developing the townships.

The advocate alleged before the court that the company officials had sought to intimidate Pandey and even asked him to withdraw his petition.

“There are further allegations that when the complainant approached this court and invoked criminal proceedings against Roy and others, they used all possible measures to thwart this litigation, firstly by intimidating him and secondly by sending him the cheques of amount without having asked for the same, and thereafter invoking the arbitration clause, knowing fully well that the same was for civil litigation and not for criminal litigations,” Yadav said.

However, the Sahara Group said it had never promised any housing project in Delhi.

“The company had offered Neeraj Pandey a flat in Sahara Grace (a housing project started 5-6 years before Swarn Rajat Yojna launched), Gurgaon. Pandey along with his counsel visited the site of Sahara Grace but he wanted a flat for one lakh rupees only which is much less than the actual price of the flat, and hence he could not buy the same,” said Abhijit Sarkar, head, corporate communications, Sahara India.

He also said that the it was “absolutely false and baseless statement” made in the complaint that the company’s branch manager Ravi Chaturvedi had told him that SICCL had collected Rs.1 lakh from about 25,000 persons in the NCR region.

“In fact, Ravi Chaturvedi never made any such statement and he was also never called in the court to verify his statement,” said Sarkar.

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