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Gaffar claims Rs 2 crore in wages More muscle, more pay

Gaffar claims Rs 2 crore in wages More muscle, more pay

Author: Kinsuk Basu
Publication: The Telegraph
Date: September 10, 2009
URL: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1090910/jsp/frontpage/story_11475395.jsp

Land shark Gaffar Mollah has told police that in the last one and a half years, he had amassed around Rs 2 crore as commission for procuring land for the Rajarhat IT township, according to sources.

The police today said that during interrogation, Gaffar told them he had procured around 250 acres for Vedic Village promoter Raj Modi, who was also a partner in the scrapped IT township project that was supposed to sprawl across 1,200 acres.

"Gaffar told us he used to charge Rs 20,000 for procuring one bigha where the least amount of persuasion was involved," an officer said. "The price used to go up where more persuasion, or muscle power, was required to get the owner to sell the land."

Police officers, however, said the amount could be higher as Gaffar was, in all probability, quoting a lesser price than what he usually used to charge Modi.

The police are yet to examine Gaffar's bank accounts, but believe that he must have stashed away a bulk of the money in someone else's name.

"We have learnt that Gaffar has kept around Rs 20 lakh in his wife's name in a bank, but we have to verify this," an officer said. "In the coming days, the truth will become clearer."

"There is likely to be more to what Gaffar has claimed," said S.N. Gupta, DIG, Presidency range. "We will verify everything that he has told us so far."

Yesterday, Gaffar had told the police that Biplab Biswas, the arrested assistant manager of Vedic Village, would normally call him over, point to a map and say that a particular plot or plots were required to be procured.

It was then left to Gaffar to procure the land in return for a commission.

Gaffar has told the police that he would send some of his henchmen to "persuade" the owner of the land to sell it. If the owner agreed, the paperwork would be done without delay.

If agreement to sell was not readily forthcoming, then a road would be first built across the land and then sand and bricks dumped to make the plot uncultivable. Even after this, if the owner did not agree, Gaffar's henchmen would brandish their weapons and "persuade" him to sell the land, the police said

Gaffar said that such was his reputation and the fear his name generated that he would normally not be required to go personally to "persuade" a reluctant landowner.

Although initially Gaffar used to deal only with Biswas, in the last two years he dealt with Modi directly on some occasions, the police said.

The police will also scan the books of Zee Enterprise, a firm Gaffar had set up to supply building materials for the construction of Vedic Village and other projects coming up in the area. "We are quite certain that he has fiddled the accounts there as well," an officer said.

The police said that at least one of his accounts was in a private bank.

"Twice during the period that Gaffar was absconding, he used the ATM of this bank to withdraw money for his and his associates' expenses, like hotel and petrol bills," the officer said. "After all, he was absconding for about a fortnight."

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