A city-based builder’s kin submitted an application, allegedly written by him, to Madhavpura police on Monday accusing BJP MLA Bharat Barot and municipal councillor Madan Lodha of trying to extort him.
The application by real estate developer Ghanshyam Patel states that the duo is threatening to jeopardise his firm, Sayona Organisers Pvt Ltd’s growth if he does not pay them Rs2 crore.
Patel, who has been in this profession for last 25 years is developing a plot on Shahibaug road in Dudheshwar by the name of Sayona Estate, besides developing other schemes in Ghatlodia, Chandlodia, Gota, Naroda road, Meghaninagar and many other areas in the city. Barot and Lodha are looking to extort a hefty sum out of me and are also extorting money from other businessmen and shopkeepers as well, his application states.
Patel’s application also accuses Barot and Lodha of harassing him economically, mentally and physically and creating hurdles in his construction business. He also accuses the duo of misusing their political clout to pressurise Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation’s demolition department to halt construction activity at his Sayona Estate site.
Stating that they not only served threats themselves, Patel also told police that the duo also sent fillers through third parties, because of which his financial losses have been mounting.
“When I raised my voice against this practice (extortion), they started creating troubles for my business,” said Patel, adding in his application that if troubles continued, he will be forced to migrate to another city.
He further said that if the duo continues to harass him even after migrating, he will even take the extreme step of ending his life, along with those of his kin.
Patel’s family includes his wife Mita and their two sons and their families besides a 3-month-old granddaughter. Interestingly, Patel has been reported missing since Sunday night. While submitting her husband’s application to Madhavpura police, Mita said it is because of the continuous harassment by the MLA and the councilor that Patel has gone missing.
Patel’s son, Yogesh, too asserted that the family will not rest before bringing the culprits to book.
“All allegations against me are false and have been levelled purely with the intention of maligning my reputation,” claimed Bharat Barot, when DNA talked to him. “Ghanshyam Patel is affiliated to the Congress party and is making allegations to sully BJP’s image.
Patel got the public toilets demolished without permission of AMC and civic body officials have themselves lodged a complaint against him. Patel has a criminal track record. In 2003, he was charged with attempt to murder and some cases have also been registered against him in Surat,” he said.
Deputy commissioner of police zone II, Sharad Singhal, said that the issue is being given a political hue. “We feel that Patel’s missing status does not have much substance to it. Bharat Barot had picked up an issue against Patel after he demolished public property to serve his business interests, and Patel is trying to get even by making such allegations,” Singhal said.