Bollywood producer-turned-builder scams 1500 investors of Rs 70 crore, arrested

Bollywood producer-turned-builder scams 1500 investors of Rs 70 crore, arrested
Representational Image. Courtesy: AFP

A 52-year-old Bollywood film producer turned developer was arrested by the police for cheating flat buyers of approximately Rs 70 crore.

The accused, Azam Khan, had been on the run for the last 13 months. He had been caught by the police last month, but the announcement about his arrest was made on Friday. The accused has been in custody since his arrest.

The builder was first arrested by Arnala police in a cheating case in September 2015, but was released on bail the same day by the Vasai sessions court.

During investigation, Crime Branch found out that Khan had cheated at least 1,800 buyers.

Out of them, 1,103 had filed a complaint against Khan. After a fresh case was registered earlier this year, Khan’s anticipatory bail was rejected and he fled.

Khan, an Andheri resident, is a partner in Ionic Realty. The firm had floated a residential project, Ionic Eco City, in J P Nagar, Virar (West). Money was collected from prospective buyers in 2011.

However, around 1,500 people who had invested in the project later filed a case against the builder with Arnala police claiming that the 28-acre plot, on which they had been promised flats, had been sold to another developer.

Investigations later revealed that Ionic Realty had sold the plot to Crystal Homecon, a firm owned by Khan.

The accused promised some buyers alternative housing and other a refund of the booking amount. However, the cheques bounced and the plot is believed to have been sold to another builder.

According to the daily, Khan was hiding in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. He was arrested from Hutatma Chowk after Crime Branch was tipped-off about his whereabouts.

In the past, Khan has produced films like Ram Gopal Varma’s ‘Phoonk’ (2009) and Vinay Pathak starrer ‘Dasvidanya’ (2008).

He was also a former executive director of a Mumbai-based entertainment production and distribution company.

According to a TOI report, he has multiple cases of cheque-bouncing, misappropriation of funds and cheating registered against him at various police stations across Mumbai.

Khan was booked by Palghar district crime branch under sections 3 and 4 of the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (MPID) Act and under Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA).

Reportedly, this is the first time a builder has been booked under the MPID Act.

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