After accusing real estate developer Omkar Realtors of offering him a bribe to “not expose irregularities” in a slum redevelopment project in Vikhroli’s Hanumant Nagar, activist Sandeep Yeole Thursday said he would approach the Economic Offences Wing and the Enforcement Directorate against the builder.
Omkar Realtors, meanwhile, rubbished Yeole’s claims and said they were considering legal action against him for defamation.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ram Kadam, who was also named by Yeole at his press conference Wednesday, too threatened to sue the activist.
On Wednesday, Yeole had claimed that a representative of Omkar Realtors had offered Rs 11 crore as bribe to dissuade him from collecting information about “irregularities” in an SRA project in Vikhroli. “I have recordings to prove that Kaushik More offered me a bribe. They had paid Rs 1 crore as the first installment, of which Rs 60 lakh was sent to me on May 29 and Rs 40 lakh on May 31. They were trying to silence me. While the money was sent a month-and-a-half ago, we spent the time trying to collect enough evidence against the builder to prove our allegations. We will now file a complaint with the EOW, the ED, the commissioner of police and with the Registrar of Companies,” Yeole said.
The activist added that he had spent a portion of the first installment to cover the cost of gathering information against the builder and for holding public meetings with the people who were being cheated. “I have all the receipts for every rupee that I spent, on jobs such as booking halls for the meetings, applying for documents under the RTI Act and printing of pamphlets. I will submit all the bills along with the balance Rs 40 lakh to the authorities,” he said.
Omkar Realtors denied Yeole’s claims and in a statement said, “Omkar Realtors would like to emphatically state that an amount of Rs 40 lakh was paid to Sandeep Yeole, a local activist, in regard to the re-development project at Parksite, Vikhroli as advance rental disbursal amount for 88 slum tenants… The defamatory attempt by Mr Yeole to present completely twisted facts to the media is purely a matter of pressure tactic for ulterior motives.” The company added that they were internally discussing legal action against Yeole.
Kadam, too, refuted all the claims made by Yeole and has given him a notice of 24 hours to apologise, after which he would “file a defamation suit worth Rs 100 crore”.
“If what Yeole says is considered to be true, he received the money one-and-a-half months ago. Why didn’t he file a police complaint or approach any journalist then? He is a Shiv Sena supporter and even participated in the party’s campaigning activities during the civic elections. Obviously, he will have negative things to say about BJP leaders. But we won’t tolerate such behaviour. If he doesn’t apologise within the next 24 hours, I will file a defamation suit against him,” said Kadam.