With realty prices in Mumbai skyrocketing, it is easy for conmen to find victims and make easy money by “offering flats at reasonable rates".
The Matunga police have arrested two real estate agents for allegedly cheating a doctor from Sion hospital of more than Rs3.5 lakh by promising him acquire an auctioned flat mortgaged by the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India at reasonable rate.
To win the confidence of Dr Rajesh Dere, 38, associate professor of forensic medicine at Sion Hospital, the duo also gave him a forged allotment letter of LIC Housing Finance Ltd.
"Rajshri More, 32, and Rajesh Shetty, 29, have been booked for forgery and cheating. More, who lives in Kalwa, is a post-graduate, while Shetty, who lives in Sion, is a Class 7 dropout," said assistant police inspector Srikant Ramdas of the Matunga police station.
While More was arrested arrested on November 5, Shetty was caught three days later. Dr Dere has refused to comment on the issue. The duo is yet to reveal how they got a forged letterhead of LIC Housing Finance.
Dr Dere was introduced to More in April 2010 by his neighbour. More told him that LIC has been auctioning flats at reasonable rates and she knew the manager of LIC Housing Finance Ltd and would be able to help him get a flat.
She reportedly showed him a vacant flat on the second floor in Apoorva Apartments, Sector- VIII at Airoli in Navi Mumbai. She told him that the flat cost only Rs25 lakh and if he wanted to buy it he should give Rs1 lakh as processing fees and 10% of the total cost (Rs2.5 lakh) through demand draft. She reportedly told him that he could pay the balance in 15 to 20 days after receiving the allotment letter from LIC Housing Finance Ltd.
After a couple of days, she gave Dr Dere a application form of LIC Housing Finance Ltd. On May 25, he gave her the filled form, a demand draft of Rs2.5 lakh in favour of LIC Housing Finance Ltd and Rs1 lakh cash.
Dr Dere later took personal loan of Rs18 lakh from two financial institutions — Barley Bank and HDFC Bank — to pay the remaining money, a source said.
When he did not get any letter from LIC Housing Finance Ltd for two weeks, he contacted More in June and told her that if she did not give him allotment letter, she should return his money, the demand draft and pay the interest on the personnel loan.
To win Dere's confidence, she sent an allotment letter, dated June 4, of LIC Housing Finance Ltd through Shetty to Dere at Sion hospital in the first week of July.
But, when he tried to contact More, she switched off her mobile phone. Suspecting foul play, he went to LIC Housing Finance Ltd’s Fort head office and was shocked to learn that the letter was forged. He lodged a complaint against More, Shetty and one of their associate, who is yet to be identified, for cheating.