Police arrest mall owner in DDA housing scandal (Lead)

New Delhi, April 28 (Inditop) Jeet Ram, one of the owners of a shopping mall in northwest Delhi, has been arrested for his alleged financial involvement in a multi-million rupee Delhi Development Authority (DDA) housing scandal, the police said Tuesday.

“We arrested Jeet Ram Monday. We were looking for him for some time for his role in the the scam,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Amulya Patnaik told IANS.

“He is among those who provided money to former DDA official M.L. Gautam. There are more financiers involved in the case and we hope they will also be arrested soon,” Patnaik added.

Police said Jeet Ram’s name cropped up during the interrogation of Gautam, owner of the Mam Ram Majesty Mall in Pitampura.

“He was reported to have financed Rs.1.5 million to accused M.L Gautam for the said fraudulent act. Gautam had also issued post-dated cheques, as security in favour of Jeet Ram,” said a senior police officer.

IANS was the first to report that a mall owner was under scanner of the police for being the financial kingpin of the housing racket.

Over 500,000 people applied for 5,238 flats under the DDA housing scheme 2008. But the housing scheme got mired in controversies amid allegations of fake applications. The scam came to light earlier this year.

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Delhi Police began investigations after a man who was allotted a flat in a draw of lots told police that he had not even applied for a flat.

Investigations revealed that a group of people conspired to buy several apartments in the names of those from reserved categories like the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes who were eligible for the flats but could not afford them. The conspirators meant to sell off these flats later for huge profits.

So far the EOW has arrested Deepak Kumar, who allegedly blew the lid off the scam after he fell out with some fellow real estate agents, retired DDA employee M.L. Gautam, real estate agents Raju Ram, Laxmi Narayan Meena and Vijay Pal.

Satbir Singh and Dinesh Dral were arrested for forging the documents to open bank accounts in fictitious names. And the last one arrested March 19 was Suresh Kumar Meena, a Delhi based real estate agent. Except Satbir, all other accused are in judicial custody.

The EOW has been probing the racket in various states.

Earlier this month, the agency filed its charge sheet in the court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Amit Bansal, indicting the accused on several counts including cheating, forgery, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence.