KOLKATA: Bidhannagar Police on Saturday seized cash worth Rs 2.37 crore, 131 gm of gold and a car from the Barasat apartment of Sushanta Kumar Das, one of the three arrested in the Salt Lake land scam case. Sushanta (wrongly referred to as Sukhen Das in previous reports), a typist who posed as an advocate, had along with Haradhan Das (the KMDA Group-D staffer) and Aloke Chatterjee (the retired KMDA deputy director), hoodwinked several people by "selling" KMDA plots to them.
Besides cash and valuables, police also seized several KMDA letter heads, rubber stamps and other land documents from Das's house in Barasat's Larica Apartment.
Bidhannagar police commissioner Rajeev Kumar said, "Das couldn't provide any definite answer to how he amassed so much wealth. He is blaming the other accused for it. Investigations are on."
Investigating officers said Das claimed he got the cash (Rs 2,37,34,200) - and other valuables (131.790 grams of gold) - from Haradhan and Chatterjee for reportedly registering land for several years. "He claims they'd purchased stamp duty to the tune of Rs 20 crore for registering the fake deeds through him," an officer said. Das, police suspect, is a key link to the entire land scam racket, for he was used primarily to forge fake land deeds.
"His main work was to register the fake land deeds. The two plots of land JC 20 and JC 22, for example, were already "sold" thrice before and their sale deeds subsequently registered. They were trying to do it for the fourth time when the complainant got suspicious," the officer said.
Das isn't even a registered lawyer though he used to pose as one. He reportedly had a makeshift chamber off Mayuk Bhawan.
Providing fake search reports was also a part of Das's work. Any land that is registered in Bengal will be recorded in the registry office or in the office of Assurance of Registrar. So with a fee, anyone who plans to buy a house or plot can check its history of deeds for a period of 13 to 30 years. Das manipulated such reports making it appear that the land is free of any title.
Police have already slapped the three accused with several sections of the IPC including 419, 420, 468, 471 and 120 (B), relating to impersonation, forgery and cheating. They had even used genuine land records, doctored them to serve their end and handed those over to the unsuspecting buyers, an officer said.
Kumar has already indicated that several names have already cropped up in the investigation and some of them are of serving government officials. This also indicates the extent to which the racket has spread.