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Two booked for abetting suicide of developer

Two men, including one from Delhi, have been booked for allegedly abetting the suicide of a 56-year-old real estate developer from Kalyan in Thane district, police said.

The victim, Asif Zojwalla, had allegedly committed suicide in March this year. He had paid Rs 7 crore to the accused, who had promised to make him the chairman of City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), police said.

A case was registered against the duo – Sanjay Ghosh and a Delhi resident Pravin Singh – on June 5, based on a complaint filed by Zojwalla’s wife, who is a member of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) better known as the Censor Board.

“The victim was into real estate business in Kalyan and surrounding areas. In June 2014, Ghosh, who is a resident of Thane, met Zojwalla and told him that he could make him the chairman of CIDCO, for which he has to pay Rs 7 crore,” Thane police spokesperson Sukhada Narkar said.

Ghosh told Zojwalla that that one of his friends from Delhi, Pravin Singh, would help him in the process. Believing him, the victim raised money, part of which he got as loan from friends, and paid Rs 7 crore to the accused, she said.

Between 2015 and 2018 the victim repeatedly asked them about their promise. However, they kept giving evasive answers, police said.

“On a few occasions, the duo even met the victim at his family functions and also at a funeral of his relative. Ultimately, he realised that he has been duped and told this to his wife.

“Later on, the duo finally told him that he will neither become the chairman of CIDCO nor will he get his money back. After this, he went into depression,” the police spokesperson said.

On March 5, when the complainant had gone for some CBFC-related work, the victim hanged himself at their residence, police said.

A week after his death, Zojwalla’s family members decided to give his car for servicing. At that time, they found his diary inside the vehicle. A note written in the diary dated December 18, 2017 said that he was upset after being duped by the duo, Narkar said.

“After going through the note, the victim’s kin felt that he had taken the extreme step after being duped by Ghosh and Singh. However, they were scared to lodge a complaint in this regard. On May 17, they handed over the diary to police and his wife lodged a complaint on June 5,” she added.

A case under IPC sections 306 (abetment of suicide) and 420 (cheating) has been registered against Ghosh and Singh at MFC police station in Kalyan division. They were yet to be arrested.

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