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Guns and muscle in property tussle

Comments Off on Guns and muscle in property tussle   |   November 19, 2013    03:37pm   |Contributed by manoja

KOLKATA: The intrusion bid at Short Street that resulted in two deaths last Sunday cost a whopping Rs 1.5 crore to plan and execute, say police.

Five days into the investigation, police say what they have uncovered so far reads like a Bollywood masala movie. But all too real.

The violence was waiting to happen, with both warring factions having a fair idea of the impeding trouble and local cops choosing to turn a blind eye, say sources.

It was in April that a forced takeover of the disputed property was discussed for the first time between Ritman CMD Parag Majmuder and a director of Heartline Estates Pvt Ltd, say police. The two felt emboldened as Calcutta high court had recently quashed Ratanlal Nahata’s appeal against the buying of the disputed land by Heartline.

Sources close to the director, however, rejected the police theory on Friday, claiming he was “being made a scapegoat as every major incident demands one.” Parag’s counsel also say he is being falsely accused in the takeover bid.

Heartland had sold the land one of Kolkata’s top industrialists – Concast owner Sanjay Surekha – and was eying the returns. However, Nahata refused to vacate. He got the support of Mamata, his “niece” in the endeavour.

Unable to gain possession and of the land aware that Sureka wanted his money (Rs 8.5 crore) back, the duo – allegedly at the behest of Parag – decided to act “tough”, say police sources.

Parag and the director decided to forcibly occupy the Short Street property, police say. They contacted Pinakesh Dutta, a contractor whom the director had met two years ago on another project, and a local Trinamool leader who roped in criminal lawyer Partho Chatterjee and security firm proprietor Arup Debnath.

According to police submission in a local court, Pinakesh was paid Rs 1.5 crore between April and July, which he transferred to the Bagha Jatin branch of Vijaya Bank. Police claim a part of this money reached Arup and Partho.

Police say they have proof of several phone calls between Pinakesh and Parag and Pinakesh and Arup. A city court has remanded Pinakesh in three days police custody. Police prayed for a court order to allow the bank manager to join investigations and added that Arup may be “arrested soon”.

After Dutta got the money, the planners got together a bunch of 5-10 men from Barrackpore who stormed into the address in daylight on September 13 and tried to put up a signboard for Heartline. But Nahata and Mamata fought back, and they retreated when Nahata brandished his guns, say investigators.

“The gang snatched a .32 bore revolver from Mamata. We are yet to recover the weapon or arrest anyone in that case of trespassing,” said an officer.

Surprisingly, despite the violence, Shakespeare Sarani police station reported to their seniors that no “serious” trespassing had taken place that day.

Desperate by now, Parag decided that coercion might not work. He extended an olive branch to Nahata, hoping to reach a settlement in October, say sources. Nahata’s lawyer Faizan reportedly said that he was willing to vacate the premises but on his own conditions – he should be adequately compensated and all charges against him should be dropped. Parag agreed, say sources.

But Nahata’s “niece”, Young Minds International School headmistress Mamata, remained a “headache.” Police say she was offered an apartment in Ballygunge and a handsome compensation but she refused to move out.

Pushed to a corner, Parag and the director allegedly planned another takeover, this time before the break of dawn, say police. Mamata, though, got wind of it and immediately recruited two security guards. She took over control of all important financial decisions related to Nahata and even took away his guns from him, say investigators.

A weeklong recce of the site preceded the takeover attempt, say sources, with accused Jayanta and Partho personally visiting the spot. But by the time the group arrived on the property at 4.30am on November 10, Mamata and her aides were ready. Seven rounds of gunfire tore into the intruders, killing two persons. A third is critically injured. He may lose an eye.


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