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Crime story on journalist's rags-to-riches success!

By The Assam Tribune
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Chandigarh, March 5: This is one crime story liable to be dismissed for a web series. But life is stranger than fiction!

And, if police investigations carried so far are to be believed, this real-life story revolving around a Chandigarh-based journalist of a leading vernacular daily, a liquor baron, the brother of a police official and 48-year-old Rahul Mehta, the lone surviving heir of his family, with property worth Rs 2.90 crore has all the ingredients of a Bollywood blockbuster.

After over three months of investigations spread over several states, Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra -- into the palatial house grab and kidnapping case in Chandigarh by the Special Investigation Team, the police registered a case against nine people, including journalist Sanjeev Mahajan, liquor baron Arvind Singla and realtor Manish Gupta.

Known for his rags-to-riches success and his proximity with top police functionaries being the city chief of the newspaper, Mahajan, who is in police custody, has been provided personal security for covering the violence in Panchkula after the verdict of godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a rape case in 2017.

He owns a cable TV business in the city and commands much influence owing to philanthropic spirit in a cheap house locality where he spent his early days of life.

Investigations led by Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Shruti Arora say the journalist along with his late accomplice, Surjit Singh, a bouncer-turned-financier, who was shot dead here by assailants in March 2020, had withdrawn a fixed deposit of Rs 33 lakh from the bank account of Mehta, who is currently suffering from mental illness, after allegedly abducting him in 2017.

As per the police, the journalist, whose plush house in Sector 37 was raided and bank accounts were scanned, has amassed disproportionate assets -- residential and commercial -- in the city and its suburbs worth Rs 9 crore.

During investigation, police came to know that the journalist's wife has been drawing a salary of Rs 1.5 lakh per month from a local prominent pharmaceutical company, which was once facing allegations of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) evasion.

Top company functionaries have now been asked to join the probe.

The trouble for Mehta began when he was illegally confined and tortured for over a month in his house in 2017.

He was forced to transfer the general power of attorney (GPA) of his house to liquor baron Singla and businessman Khalendra Singh Kadiyan.

Police investigation found out that in 2017, bouncer Surjit Singh, who is now dead, took Mehta to a stud farm owned by Abdul Karim in Bhuj in Gujarat, where he was illegally kept.

Karim told the police that Surjit Singh told him to take care of Mehta for some time as he was homeless.

When Surjit Singh did not return, he sent Mehta to charitable old-age home Matushri Manibai Pragji Maheshvari in Bhuj.

From there he was taken to Karjat Foundation in Maharashtra, Apna Ghar Ashram in Bharatpur in Rajasthan and finally to its branch in New Delhi, where he is now residing.

On March 1, 2019, the accused sold the house to one Saurabh Gupta, brother of realtor Manish Gupta, for Rs 2.9 crore.

"They executed a sale deed in favour of Saurabh Gupta by presenting a proxy of Rahul in Chandigarh," ASP Arora told IANS.

The investigation into the case, supervised by Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Kuldeep Singh Chahal, was reopened for the second time following an anonymous complaint with the police.

A 2009-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, Chahal, who was appointed the SSP in Chandigarh in September 2020, started his career as an assistant sub-inspector here before clearing the UPSC exams and getting selected to the IPS.

"If needed, the police can hand over the journalist's disproportionate asset case to the Enforcement Directorate," Chahal told IANS.

All accused are facing charges, among others, for house-trespass, kidnapping, extortion, cheating, forgery and fraudulent cancellation, destruction, etc., of will of the Indian Penal Code.

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Crime story on journalist

Chandigarh, March 5: This is one crime story liable to be dismissed for a web series. But life is stranger than fiction!

And, if police investigations carried so far are to be believed, this real-life story revolving around a Chandigarh-based journalist of a leading vernacular daily, a liquor baron, the brother of a police official and 48-year-old Rahul Mehta, the lone surviving heir of his family, with property worth Rs 2.90 crore has all the ingredients of a Bollywood blockbuster.

After over three months of investigations spread over several states, Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra -- into the palatial house grab and kidnapping case in Chandigarh by the Special Investigation Team, the police registered a case against nine people, including journalist Sanjeev Mahajan, liquor baron Arvind Singla and realtor Manish Gupta.

Known for his rags-to-riches success and his proximity with top police functionaries being the city chief of the newspaper, Mahajan, who is in police custody, has been provided personal security for covering the violence in Panchkula after the verdict of godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a rape case in 2017.

He owns a cable TV business in the city and commands much influence owing to philanthropic spirit in a cheap house locality where he spent his early days of life.

Investigations led by Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Shruti Arora say the journalist along with his late accomplice, Surjit Singh, a bouncer-turned-financier, who was shot dead here by assailants in March 2020, had withdrawn a fixed deposit of Rs 33 lakh from the bank account of Mehta, who is currently suffering from mental illness, after allegedly abducting him in 2017.

As per the police, the journalist, whose plush house in Sector 37 was raided and bank accounts were scanned, has amassed disproportionate assets -- residential and commercial -- in the city and its suburbs worth Rs 9 crore.

During investigation, police came to know that the journalist's wife has been drawing a salary of Rs 1.5 lakh per month from a local prominent pharmaceutical company, which was once facing allegations of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) evasion.

Top company functionaries have now been asked to join the probe.

The trouble for Mehta began when he was illegally confined and tortured for over a month in his house in 2017.

He was forced to transfer the general power of attorney (GPA) of his house to liquor baron Singla and businessman Khalendra Singh Kadiyan.

Police investigation found out that in 2017, bouncer Surjit Singh, who is now dead, took Mehta to a stud farm owned by Abdul Karim in Bhuj in Gujarat, where he was illegally kept.

Karim told the police that Surjit Singh told him to take care of Mehta for some time as he was homeless.

When Surjit Singh did not return, he sent Mehta to charitable old-age home Matushri Manibai Pragji Maheshvari in Bhuj.

From there he was taken to Karjat Foundation in Maharashtra, Apna Ghar Ashram in Bharatpur in Rajasthan and finally to its branch in New Delhi, where he is now residing.

On March 1, 2019, the accused sold the house to one Saurabh Gupta, brother of realtor Manish Gupta, for Rs 2.9 crore.

"They executed a sale deed in favour of Saurabh Gupta by presenting a proxy of Rahul in Chandigarh," ASP Arora told IANS.

The investigation into the case, supervised by Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Kuldeep Singh Chahal, was reopened for the second time following an anonymous complaint with the police.

A 2009-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, Chahal, who was appointed the SSP in Chandigarh in September 2020, started his career as an assistant sub-inspector here before clearing the UPSC exams and getting selected to the IPS.

"If needed, the police can hand over the journalist's disproportionate asset case to the Enforcement Directorate," Chahal told IANS.

All accused are facing charges, among others, for house-trespass, kidnapping, extortion, cheating, forgery and fraudulent cancellation, destruction, etc., of will of the Indian Penal Code.

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