The economic wing of Panchkula police has arrested two accused — Virendar Baghai and Sunita Baghai — in the Samar estate fraud case. The accused were produced in a local court on Saturday and sent to judicial custody.
However, the prime accused in the case, Vinod Baghai, is yet to be arrested.
As many as 18 FIRs have been filed in the case against the accused over a period of more than one-and-a-half years with the first FIR being filed in July 2019 at the Sector 20 police station of Panchkula.
The arrest comes soon after the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s order in November last year which had sought a reply from the Panchkula SP on an application moved by a disabled war soldier against prime accused Vinod Bagai, director of Samar estates, in his housing project ESS Vee Apartments urging action against the accused.
Major Pinto Pandit (Retd), a war disabled soldier, is one among over 400 people who await the possession of these flats in the Ess Vee Society of Panchkula. It has been more than a year and a half since FIRs under fraud started piling up against the builder.
All FIRs state that the victims had been lured by several ads put out by accused Vinod Bagai and two others to invest in a three BHK at a cost of Rs 67.7 lakh in ESS VEE apartments being built in Panchkula, Sector 20, on the promise of possession of flats within three years in 2011. Having waited for several years, an association of the aggrieved started filing the FIRs in 2019.
The inaction by Panchkula police despite the formation of a SIT to specifically look into the FIRs against the accused had been the prime cause that had led Major Pinto to move the court. The High Court on November 24 had directed the Panchkula SP to file a personal affidavit on the status of the matter within a month.
DELAY IN ARREST
A SIT formed in late August by the then DCP, Deepak Gahlawat, with the go-ahead of CP Saurabh Singh, had not submitted even a single report as of November 27 last year despite the mounting number of FIRs and high number of victims in the case.
More than 400 people await possession of these flats in the Ess Vee Society of Panchkula. The FIRs by victims allege a total fraud of more than Rs 300 crore in the matter.
The first case against accused Vinod Bagai and others was registered on July 31 in 2019. All FIRs subsequently registered have alleged that the company duped people of their money on the promise of delivering them the possession of 3bhk flats in Ess Vee apartments in Sector 20.
Allegations of fraud by misappropriating and diverting the funds collected from all the allottees have also been levelled against the accused.
Both HRERA and State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission have in the past issued non-bailable warrants against Bagai due to non-compliance with orders by respective courts.
The orders were to be implemented by an Inspector-level officer of the Panchkula police.
Vinod Bagai, talking to The Indian Express, had claimed that all the cases against him were motivated due to political reasons, as he had independently run for the 2014 elections from Panchkula.
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