Police suspect the fire that tore through the third floor real-estate office in Basavanagudi’s Nettakallappa Circle on March 13 was not accidental.
The blaze in Rajarajeshware Builddcon Pvt Ltd in the three-storey Sri Ranga Commercial Complex gutted loads of documents, directors of the company alleged in their complaint to the Basavanagudi police.
A senior official said the fire could have been set off deliberately to claim destruction of documents relating to land, joint ventures, sale deeds and other legal papers related to the builder’s business activities.
Intriguingly, the fire broke out in the evening when an FIR was filed against the directors of Rajarajeshware Builddcon Pvt Ltd and six other parties at the Kengeri police station. Directors Raman Lal M Sha, Mitesh Kumar Sha and six others were booked for cheating, forgery and using forged documents.
Complainant Vishwanatha B N, a businessman from Jayanagar, told the police that he owned two sites measuring 6,800 square feet. In August 2013, Vishwanatha entered into a joint venture with Rajarajeshware Builddcon to build 20 flats, out of which 11 would belong to Vishwanatha and nine would go to the builder.
“They forged documents and sold at least six of my flats,” Vishwanatha told DH. “They even pledged those property papers and obtained loan from finance firms. The builder duped me of at least Rs 12 crore.”
He accused the builders of deliberately setting off the fire. “They wanted to buy time and hoodwink the police when they investigate (the fraud case) and ask for documents,” Vishwanatha said.
A senior police official hinted that the builder could have used the same method to cheat more clients. The fire would allow them to escape police scrutiny. They could claim destruction of documents and buy more time to acquire the duplicates. Police suspect the builders could have shifted some crucial documents to other places. “We’ll investigate the case in detail and explore all angles to bring it to the logical conclusion,” the investigating officer said.
What does the MD say?
“Anybody can file a complaint against anyone. It was an accidental fire. I have not claimed any insurance. The entire third floor has been burnt, where there was a dining area, locker room and systems. I am not benefiting here. I know the complainant, who is a crook. He is already bankrupt. He has cheated many people and has left his house, closed his office and nobody knows where he is,” said Ramanlal Sha, the managing director of Rajarajeshware Builddcon Pvt Ltd.