The Raopura police station is investigating a scam that duped 91 individuals of 1.09 crore with the false promise of constructing houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).
According to a complaint filed at the Raopura police station by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC), imposters cheated 91 unsuspecting individuals by offering to construct houses under the PMAY. The racket came to light when Dabhoi MLA Shailesh Mehta wrote a letter to the Municipal Commissioner on February 10 seeking an investigation.
According to officials of VMC’s Affordable Housing Department, the civic body wrote to the Raopura police station after receiving a letter from Mehta. The letter was sent along with forged receipts handed out to individuals for an amount of Rs 1.2 lakh each. According to Mehta, the scam came to light when a worker at his petrol pump told him about the “delay” after having paid the money in July 2021. Mehta said, “I inquired into the matter and figured out that the person had been fooled… Further inquiry showed that the impostor Vikram Vanzara had taken a draft of Rs 20,000 in the name of VMC and an additional Rs 1.2 lakh through cash or cheques in his name. These were never deposited into the VMC accounts although they even handed over forged receipts that looked almost real.”
Mehta said that he handed over all evidence of the scam along with the name of the person who received the cheques in his name from the ‘victims’. “The VMC has finally submitted a police application but the action could have been swifter. We are not sure if some lower-rung employee of VMC could be involved, but the impostor appears to be a novice given that he has received cheques in his name and deposited them into his bank accounts.”
Mehta, in his letter to VMC, said, “I have been able to draw up a list of 91 persons, who have been fleeced. No one can tell how many people were cheated in Vadodara city. The scam involving 91 persons in itself amounts to Rs 1.09 crore… VMC should take legal steps into this serious matter and ensure that the culprit is booked…”
Nilesh kumar Parmar, the Executive Engineer of VMC’s Affordable Housing Department, said, “We have gone through the list of 91 duped persons submitted by MLA Shailesh Mehta along with the receipts and invoices. None of the 91 people featured on any housing scheme list of VMC and the receipts they have been issued is forged … The involvement of officers or staff of the civic body has been ruled out.”