Pune housing fraud: Builder booked for forgery, court rejects pre-arrest bail

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Pune, Apr 18: Troubles mounted for Maple Group Chairman Sachin Agarwal today with the police pressing fresh charges of forgery against him for allegedly misleading people into purchasing flats promising cheaper rates by wrongfully using the logo of 'Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana' and a local court rejecting his anticipatory bail.

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW), probing the case, booked Agarwal and other executives of the builder firm for forgery and criminal breach of trust. "We have slapped sections 467 (forgery of valuable security) 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document) and 409 (criminal breach of trust) of Indian Penal Code," said Deputy Commissioner of Police Deepak Sakore.

Pune

Police had earlier registered a cheating case against the accused. The DCP said one of the reasons behind imposing additional charges is that Maple Group had used the logo of 'Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana' in their advertisement without permission.

He said the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) and PMAY have informed police that the developer did not take any formal permission before releasing the advertisement. Earlier in the day, Additional Sessions Judge S B Kachare rejected the bail plea filed yesterday by Agarwal, Managing Director Naveen Agrawal and Sales Manager Priyanka Agrawal after EOW opposed it.

Maple Group had recently published advertisements promising a 1-BHK flat for only Rs 5 lakh on the outskirts of the city.

The 'dubious' advertisement carried pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Pune Guardian Minister Girish Bapat, apparently to "mislead" people into believing that the project, titled Maharashtra Housing Day, was a part of Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana (PMAY).

Meanwhile, senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar accused the BJP government of delaying the arrest of Agarwal. "The government is dilly dallying on the issue of arrest of (Maple Group CMD) Sachin Agarwal, accused of cheating common people. Why are police unable to apprehend him?..."Is he Dawood Ibrahim that police are not able to trace him?, he told reporters here.

Seeking a thorough probe, Pawar asked, "It has been a long time, the case has been registered but why is Agarwal not traceable." Police had said around 32,000 people had booked a flat in the low-cost housing project. The firm later started returning money to depositors after a case was registered against them following uproar.

PTI

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