Nitin Rathi, the Noida Authority employee accused of conning 61 people into buying fake property in a scam amounting to crores of rupees, preyed almost exclusively on the “poor families” who would apply for flats under the Authority’s EWS and LIG schemes. His con job relied heavily on the “aura of opulence” that Rathi carefully constructed, said the police.
Gautam Budh Nagar police chief Preetinder Singh confirmed that “the Noida Authority was carrying out an internal investigation”, which has now finished. “We are filing an FIR in the matter at the Sector 20 police station on the basis of the investigation. Apart from that, we are also looking into the allegations made against Rathi. A team is combing through his finances and properties,” Singh said.
As per police sources, Rathi chose his victims carefully and preferred poor families looking to get a house. “He worked in a manner where he would first get his hands on the list of people who had applied for EWS and LIG flats. From this he would single out those who had failed to keep up with the installments or had unsuccessfully applied,” said a senior police officer.
Vikas Kumar, who is said to have given Rathi Rs 5 lakh for a plot in sector 122, said, “I trusted him because he was a government servant and he seemed very important. I have now approached the Noida Authority and the police regarding the matter.”
The police added that Rathi would take money in “regular installments” from these families, promising them the flats.
“He cheated a number of people who had applied for the EWS flats in sector 122. He would keep taking regular payments until the families could pay no more,” said the officer.
Sources said Rathi relied on his large living in order to convince his likely targets. “He has a massive office and travelled with personal security guards. He owned expensive cars. The aura of opulence is important because it convinced those he conned that he was an important officer at the Authority,” the police officer said.
Rathi started out as a security guard with the Authority and, over the years, rose up the ranks to become an assistant with the sports department. A suspension order against him is likely to be served on Monday after Noida Authority CEO Rama Raman returns to work.