Cops seal realtor-Gaffar link -Land-losers in FIR fightback - Vedic chief with 14 charges denied bail
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- Published 31.08.09
|Vedic Realty managing director Raj K. Modi being brought to the Barasat chief judicial magistrate’s court for the hearing on his bail application on Sunday. Picture by Pronab Biswas|
Land-grab FIRs against Vedic Village piled up a day after realtor Raj K. Modi’s arrest and revelations about him not only knowing Gaffar Mollah but also allowing the fugitive land shark to stockpile weapons on the premises of the luxury resort.
Modi, the managing director of Vedic Reality, was denied bail on Sunday and remanded in police custody for two days.
“We had asked for a four-day remand but didn’t get it. We now need to quickly build on the information extracted from Modi about his dealings with Gaffar. He has admitted to allowing Gaffar and his gang unrestricted access to Vedic Village, including permission to store weapons,” a senior police officer said.
The police have slapped 14 charges on Modi, three of which are non-bailable. The charges include murder (Section 302), attempt to murder (Section 307), forgery of valuable security, will, etc. (Section 467), member of unlawful assembly (Section 149) and illegal possession of weapons under Sections 25/27 of the Arms Act.
As investigators burrowed into the Vedic Village-Gaffar nexus, villagers queued up at Rajarhat police station to file complaints about how they were either forced to sell land for the expansion of the spa resort-cum-bungalow complex or “blocked out” from their plots for refusing to do so.
“We registered 14 FIRs till 3pm on Friday,” said an officer at the police station.
Robin Sardar, a resident of Shikharpur village who has allegedly been barred by Vedic Village guards from setting foot on his 11-cottah bamboo grove adjoining the resort, was one of those who filed an FIR on Sunday.
“The groves surrounding my land (in wife Kamala’s name) were acquired by Vedic Village from my relatives. When I refused to part with my plot, they blocked my entry on the pretext of laying a road. Then, Gaffar threatened me,” Sardar said.
The farmer said he wrote to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and land minister Abdul Rezzak Mollah separately about the land-grab conspiracy but received no reply.
Another resident, Ansarul Islam, said senior police officers visited the villages in the vicinity of Vedic Village on Sunday morning to probe whether anyone had been forced to sell land. “Those who stepped forward were asked to go to Rajarhat police station.”
A source said “political prodding” also played its part in villagers who had kept mum so far deciding to complain against the alleged land-grab tactics of Vedic Village.
“We hope to build a water-tight case based on these complaints and Modi’s admission of harbouring a criminal like Gaffar,” said an investigating officer.
Dressed in blue striped shirt, Modi cut a forlorn figure in the courtroom lock-up as the acting chief judicial magistrate of Barasat, S.K. Saha, rejected his bail application. Minutes after the hearing began at 12.30pm, he complained of uneasiness and slumped to the ground.
Saha then asked the police to shift the realtor from the courtroom lock-up to the more spacious court lock-up.
The magistrate later accepted the plea by defence lawyers Amit Bhattacharya and Sabyasachi Banerjee to keep their client under medical supervision and shift him to a government hospital, if required. “Modi suffers from a cardiac ailment,” Bhattacharya said.
Sources said Modi was questioned through the night after his arrest late on Saturday. Apart from admitting that he harboured Gaffar, the managing director of Vedic Realty is said to have revealed how CPM leaders of the area benefited from allowing his company to work “without resistance”.
“Firms owned or run by CPM leaders would get supply contracts for supporting the project. One of the beneficiaries he named was a firm owned by one Hamid Mondal of Lauhati but actually run by some local CPM leaders,” said a police officer.
Modi also confirmed that the brother of a Rajarhat-based CPM leader and the son of a former panchayat pradhan from the party were given jobs in the store department of a project of Vedic Realty.
The arrested assistant project manager of Vedic Village, Biplab Biswas, had earlier told cops that his boss openly patronised Gaffar. “Securitymen at the resort were asked not to stop anybody from Gaffar’s gang. They were known as Borobabu’s men,” the officer quoted Biswas as saying.
who’s raj modi?
● Raj K. Modi, 49, is known in the city’s realty circles as “a recluse”
● His father, the late Jagannath Modi, was in paper trading
● Raj Modi came into real estate in the late eighties. His first company, Lee Road Properties Ltd, developed the Vaibhav Shopping Plaza on Lee Road
● In 1992, he started Sumangal Services Pvt Ltd with Piyush Bhagat, but the firm didn’t take off
● In 1995-96, Modi and Bhagat formed Sanjeevani Projects that developed the Club Town and Space Town residential complexes, and then the Space Town club. Bhagat broke away in 2003 and formed the Space Group
● Vedic Village has been his calling card. The tie-up with Webel for his mega project Kolkata Links gave him clout
● Modi was once aligned with Kamal Gandhi to facilitate land acquisition for Vedic Village. Now he is with Amarnath Shroff for Kolkata Links
● Son Uday, 25, is looking after marketing in Vedic Realty. Daughter Vrinda, 22, has just returned after completing higher studies in Singapore. Wife Sujata is a homemaker
● The Modis stay in Kumartuli, where their ancestral house is. Raj is building a new residence in front of his office on Upper Wood Street
● Modi is a keen golfer