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Damani denied bail in 9A case

Rajesh Damani

Real estate broker Rajesh Damani was paid Rs 1.75 lakh for posing as a director of a real estate company and signing on papers related to the sale of 9A Short Street, a government lawyer submitted in Bankshall court on Friday.

“Damani was planted as a director of Heartline Estate Private Ltd, a fictitious company formed by real estate agent Parag Majmudar, when the plot was sold to Sanjay Sureka in 2010,” public prosecutor Krishna Chandra Das submitted while opposing Damani’s bail plea. “Besides, he (Damani) was the bridge between Majmudar and broker Pinakesh Dutta, who was paid Rs 1.5 crore to get the plot vacated.”

Magistrate Biswarup Seth remanded Damani in police custody till December 3.

The broker, a Howrah resident, was arrested on Thursday in front of South City Mall. He had been on the run since the November 11 trespass on 9A Short Street, which resulted in the gunning down of two bouncers.

Mamta Agarwal, the headmistress of a playschool on the premises, is behind bars on charges of shooting the bouncers.

Police sources said they came to know about Damani’s involvement in the case following interrogation of Majmudar and Dutta in custody.

At Bankshall court, public prosecutor Das submitted that Majmudar had tasked Damani with finding someone who could make “necessary arrangements” to get 9A vacated.

“It was Damani who contacted Dutta and brought him to Majmudar in April. Majmudar paid Dutta Rs 1.5 crore,” Das said in his submission before the chief metropolitan magistrate.

The police said Dutta had contacted lawyer Partha Mukherjee, behind bars on charges of trespassing on 9A, and gave him Rs 3 lakh to engage a private security agency to get the plot vacated. “The agency sent its men, including bouncers, who entered the property after scaling its boundary wall early on November 11,” said an officer of the detective department.

“Damani is a key conspirator behind the trespass. He contacted Dutta, a member of a racket that deals with disputed land across the city. Damani cannot deny his knowledge behind the illegal entry inside the premises,” Das stated in his petition seeking Damani’s police custody for 14 days.

The police said Damani and Dutta conducted a recce on November 10, a day before the trespass. “They got an idea about the height of the boundary wall and passed on the information to Arup Debnath, the owner of the security agency whose staff had been hired for the trespass,” said an officer. Cops are looking for Debnath.

Damani’s lawyer Sandip Ghosh claimed his client was innocent and not involved in the trespass. “Damani’s name was not mentioned in the FIR and there is no evidence that he was present at the spot during the trespass,” said Ghosh.

Sleuths investigating the case said Majmudar would also be interrogated in connection with the September 15 arttack on 9A Short Street.

Clash

Five persons were wounded in a clash between two factions of Trinamul over the possession of a piece of land in Bhangar, on the southern fringe, on Friday evening.