MUMBAI: Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) has asked Mumbai Police to investigate a case of thirteen widows of Indian Army soldiers allegedly duped of low-cost houses in Mumbai they are supposed to have won in a lottery.
They were allegedly duped by a person claiming to be employed with the authority, who helped them fill forms for MHADA’s lottery of affordable houses. Once they won the houses, the imposter, later identified as Shashi Kadam, allegedly sold the houses without the women realising they had won the houses.
Once they realised they had won, the women, all from Satara, had approached MHADA’s vigilance department three years ago. The houses are in Malad, Dahisar and Chandivali.
Niranjankumar Sudhanshu, chief officer of MHADA’s Mumbai board, said, “In 2012, police closed investigation as a few complainants said they want to take their complaints back. However, many hearings have been conducted since and we found there were many others who wished to pursue the matter. We have asked Kherwadi police station to register a case.”
Ashok Kadam, senior police inspector at Kherwadi police station, said, “We received a letter about 20-25 days ago from chief vigilance officer of MHADA asking us to take up the matter. We are gathering information and will file an FIR within a week. There was an investigation in this matter in 2012, but MHADA was not satisfied with the outcome.”
Shashi allegedly approached the women, many of them self-help group members, in Satara and told them widows of soldiers are entitled to subsidised houses under MHADA’s defence quota.
Sixty-five-year-old Gangubai Lakshman Kirdan said, “He helped us fill forms and told us he will take care of all application fees and formalities. We were not even aware we had won houses in the lottery, leave alone getting the possession. We tried asking him, but he wouldn’t give us an answer and later changed his contact number.”
When Chaya Bhagwan Wagh, who applied for a house in 2009, received a letter in 2011 regarding maintenance charges for the house she had been allotted in Shailendra Nagar, Dahisar,it was then that the women realised they had won the houses.