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Court rejects bail plea of man charged with forgery

Thursday, November 08, 2018
By Bhavna Uchil

The man had allegedly forged signatures and put thumb impressions of dead persons

A holiday court yesterday rejected the anticipatory bail plea of the chairman of a Worli housing society who has been charged along with the secretary of the society with forging signatures and putting thumb impressions of two residents of the society who had passed away many year ago.

While one of the residents, Sarubai Ashtekar, had passed away in the year 1999, another resident Chandu Misal had died in 2004. Interestingly, the housing society of which the applicant Suresh Lokhande is the chairman, had sent a letter in 2016 requesting the Slum Redevelopment Authority (SRA) to interchange the room allotted to Sarubai in one of the redeveloped buildings with that of one other resident, who has also been made an accused in the case now. This letter contained the thumb impression of Sarubai, who was long deceased, as one of the residents seeking an interchange of the flat allotted to her.

Another letter sent by the society to the SRA in October 2016, requested the authority to interchange the room allotted to Misal, also deceased. This letter contained the signature of Misal. The SRA had in letters addressed to the society, approved the interchange of rooms. When building residents came to know about the interchange of rooms, they complained to the SRA, which then cancelled the interchange approval given by it. An officer of the SRA then lodged a complaint against Lokhande and the secretary of the society for misleading the authority with false signature and thumb impression of  residents who were long deceased.

In his anticipatory bail plea, Lokhande claimed that he came to know about the two residents being deceased only after the SRA had cancelled the room interchange approvals. He said he had believed a committee member who had approached him with the room interchange proposal, and signed the request letters from the housing society to the SRA.

Additional Public Prosecutor Sumesh Panjwani arguing for rejecting the bail plea, had said that Lokhande was required for investigation by the police. Rejecting Lokhande's bail plea, additional sessions judge UM Padwad observed that since it was a case of forgery, the custody of the accused was needed for thorough investigation.

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