Updated: December 13, 2021 7:51:22 am
Referring to the ongoing investigation into a multi-crore theft case in Gurgaon by the Special Task Force (STF), in which an IPS officer has also been suspended, a local court observed the actual theft may be bigger than what was initially reported.
“The facts… suggest that a case which was initially a theft of Rs 50 lakh, subsequently, turned out to be a case of more than Rs 30-40 crore and it may be of bigger magnitude if investigation is carried out with due care and caution. It is a case where attempt has been made by the accused persons to cover up the heist by way of giving huge amount of bribe to DCP Dheeraj Setia,” observed Gurgaon Additional Sessions Judge Jasbir Singh on December 10 while dismissing bail applications of two accused, Dr Ashwani Kumar and Sandeep.
The case pertains to a multi-crore theft from a company’s office in Sector 82 in August. Two Gurgaon-based doctors and Delhi Police ASI Vikas Gulia were earlier arrested. Police suspect gangster Vikas Lagarpuria planned the theft. The theft was reported on August 21, after the complainant went to collect the cash to deposit it in the bank and noticed Rs 50 lakh missing.
The Haryana government Friday suspended IPS officer Setia, the then DCP of Gurgaon, after the court had put under scanner the allegations against him. Authorities in Haryana have also asked the Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax department to look into the case.
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The court observed: “It appears to be a unique case where both the complainant and accused persons are equally interested in covering up the unaccounted multi-crore money heist. Complainant in this case is an employee of… (a company). As such, he cannot be in possession of such a huge amount of unaccounted money. As such, he is nothing but a de facto complainant. In his supplementary statement dated 26-08-2021, he stated that a sum of Rs 50 lakh has been stolen from flats. But during the course of investigation, it came out that more than Rs 30-40 crore were kept in the said flats… (and) a sum of more than Rs 5 crore in cash and kind have been recovered. In that circumstance, statement of (the) complainant regarding theft to the extent of Rs 50 lakh… appears false. As such, it is a case where there is not only violation of provisions of IPC but also violation of provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 and Income Tax Act.”
While dismissing the bail application of Dr Ashwani Kumar and Sandeep, the court said: “The accused… sought relief of bail on the ground of parity, as they have claimed that similarly situated accused namely, Pankaj, Shashi Pratap Singh, Jokham Singh, Virendra, Mohit Kumar, Vikas Kumar, Shyam Singh and Puneet have already been released on bail. In this regard, it is pertinent to mention here that at the time of grant of bail to the aforesaid accused, it was a simple case of theft of Rs 50 lakh. At that time, neither the involvement of any gangster nor of any police officer for covering up the matter has come on record. Now, a huge amount of more than Rs 5 crore in cash and kind have been recovered. The involvement of many other accused has come on record, including the senior police officer. In view of these peculiar circumstances, the ground of parity as claimed by the accused-applicants is not available to them.”
It further observed: “There are numerous mysterious aspects in the case which are yet to be unravelled by the investigating agency. Facts of the case suggest that it was a premeditated act and the accused involved in this case hatched a well-planned conspiracy. The source of money stored in the flats and the purpose for which it was stored there are yet to be traced. Some of the accused who had committed theft are still at large. The role of the senior police officer, namely, DCP Dheeraj Setia, is also yet to be examined. As per prosecution version, a major chunk of stolen amount, vehicles, used by the culprits are yet to be recovered. Investigation is at the nascent stage and if the accused-applicants are released on bail, that would hamper the progress of investigation.”
STF DIG B Satheesh Balan told The Indian Express: “We have issued notices to Dheeraj Setia twice asking him to join the investigation. Our team also visited his official residence in Gurgaon, but nobody was found there. We are trying to contact him. If he doesn’t cooperate and join the investigation, we may opt for coercive actions.”
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