SIKKIM CRIME WATCH: Fraud slur on park deal – Calcuttan arrested in Sikkim – a reflection of the Bengal culture ?!! big money, big crime, big punishment, conmen to pay big time ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Gangtok, Aug 10: A Calcutta-based businessman who had bagged the contract to run the newly constructed amusement park here was arrested on cheating charges while trying to flee the state disguised as a labourer on Sunday.
Rajesh Jhunjhunwala, said to be a resident of New Alipore in Calcutta, was handed over to the crime branch yesterday after being apprehended by the vigilance wing at Rangpo on the Bengal border.
Jhunjhunwala, said to be the owner of Jhunjhunwala and Sons — a firm police said was non-existent — was arrested after the Rural Management and Development (RMD) department lodged a complaint against him. He has been charged under Sections 420, 468 and 471 of the Indian Penal Code that deals with forgery and cheating. He was produced before the court today and remanded in police custody for seven days.
His so-called company had bagged the tender for running the Rs 55.6-crore Kanchenjunga Tourist Villa-cum-amusement park that was inaugurated on April 15 by President Pratibha Patil.
According to sources in the police and in the RMD, Jhunjhunwala had been camping in a Gangtok hotel since April impersonating as a wealthy businessman with a tea garden in the Dooars and the owner of the export firm.
In the first week of July he won the tender for the running of the park and the Sikkim government agreed to his annual payment of Rs 3.06 crore for a lease of 21 years. The lease amount would be increased by five per cent each year from the fourth year onwards.
“We came to know that the man was a fraud and his company a fake one only recently, when a cheque for Rs 1.7 crore submitted by him was rejected by a Calcutta bank. We noticed that there were many lacunae and loopholes in the bank statement of the company and immediately informed the crime branch and lodged a complaint,” said A.K. Ganeriwala, the state RMD secretary.
He said the state government had not paid any money to Jhunjhunwala and timely action had saved the state from a major loss.
“During preliminary interrogation, the arrested man told us that some chartered accountants in Calcutta were running a racket of supplying fake income-tax and bank documents. We have to contact the Calcutta police about this,” said an officer in the crime branch.
According to the police, Jhunjhunwala had also duped the owner of the hotel he had staying at by not paying the Rs 30,000 monthly bill since July, saying that the money was stuck in a “wire transfer”.