Mamata Banerjee's 'PA' arrested

Mamata Banerjee's 'PA' arrested

She used to cheat people on pretext of providing railways contracts

A 40-year-old woman has been arrested for impersonating as former railways minister Mamata Banerjee’s personal assistant and cheating a bakery shop owner on the pretext of facilitating work contracts in the ministry, police said on Wednesday.

Seema Malhotra of Vasant Kunj was arrested over a complaint by Abhayjeet Singh Kalra, who owns a bakery shop at Ajmal Khan Road in Karol Bagh, that she had duped him of Rs 8.25 lakh in 2010, said Devesh Chandra Srivastva, additional commissioner of police (central).

Kalra told police that he had met Seema in August 2010. She had introduced herself as the personal assistant of the then railways minister Mamata Banerjee.

“The accused had requested Abhayjeet to pack some food for Banerjee and had later informed him that the minister had praised the food. She even made him talk on the phone to a lady who represented herself as Banerjee,” Srivastva added.

Seema then informed him about an upcoming train ‘The Rajasthan Royals Express’ and encouraged him to apply for the tender for catering on the train.

“She convinced him bysaying the contract was worth over Rs 23 crore and that she can facilitate him to bag the contract. She also told him that if the contract was granted and 30 per cent of the contract amount, Rs 7 crore, shall be paid to him in advance,” Srivastva said.

Abhayjeet later gave a quotation of rates, which Seema said had been approved by the ministry. She took a pay order for Rs 5.50 lakh as part fee of the tender and gave him a ‘Indian Northern Railways’ receipt showing the deposit.

Seema used to visit his shop regularly and promise him that he was on the verge of being awarded the contract. She had then lured him to apply for tender of toilet kits in the train.

“After being convinced about her offer, the complainant’s father gave a pay order of Rs 2.75 lakh as part fee for the tender. On the next day, she visited his shop and handed his father a receipt of the amount and they were told to deposit the balance amount of Rs 11 lakh in two installments within a month,” Srivastva said.

However, before paying the amount, the complainant tried to confirm the authenticity of the tenders and came to know that the pay orders were deposited in a private account and there was no project in the name of ‘The Rajasthan Royal Express’ as represented by Seema.

A case of cheating was registered at the Paharganj police station and investigation was taken up. During investigation, it was found that the two pay orders given by the complainant to Seema were credited in the account of R B Madhu Singh at Punjab National Bank in Paharganj.

“It was also revealed that no person was working in the Personal Section of the Railways Minister in the name of Seema Malhotra and no such organisation called Indian Northern Railway was in existence. It was also revealed that accused had sold her house and left for an unknown place,” Srivastva said.

Police then traced Seema to D–I Block in Vasant Kunj and arrested her on Tuesday. Seema was subjected to sustained interrogation in which she disclosed that she cheated people to maintain a luxurious lifestyle.

“She was earlier arrested in a cheating case and while she was in jail, she met one R B Madhu Singh alias Divya Thakur and became friendly with her. After being released from jail, both the accused hatched the plan of cheating people on the pretext of getting supply orders and contracts in railways,” Srivastva added.

They had also opened a number of accounts in various banks to swindle the cheated amount. “Raids are being conducted to apprehend the other accused,” Srivastva said.