A Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Pune City Police on Thursday filed a 36,875-page-long chargesheet against builder Deepak Sakharam Kulkarni and his wife Hemanti of the city-based DSK Group for allegedly cheating thousands of depositors via various investment schemes. The chargesheet said the alleged fraud perpetrated by Kulkarni and his group was worth Rs 2043.18 crore. The chargesheet was filed before the court of Special Judge J T Utpat by Assistant Police Commissioner Nilesh More, who is heading the SIT formed to probe the case. To carry the voluminous chargesheet to court, police needed four vans.
As many as 6,792 depositors have filed complaints with the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Pune City Police in connection with the case. However, Deputy Commissioner of Police, EOW, Sudhir Hiremath said the probe has revealed that about 33,000 depositors, including senior citizens and women, have been cheated.
“Since 2010, DSK and his wife Hemanti lured people into investing their money in the schemes of D S Kulkarni Developers Limited (DSKDL) and eight more partnership firms, on assurances of attractive returns with 10.5 per cent to 12.6 per cent interest per year. Later, these deposits were diverted to the accounts of family members of DSK and then again diverted to the accounts of DSK, Hemanti, their son Shirish and others, and siphoned off. The maximum money was diverted to Hemanti’s bank account. The process of siphoning off the money of depositors is complicated and is being probed thoroughly,” said Hiremath.
The police officer said the probe has, so far, found that the DSK Group has committed fraud to the tune of Rs 2043.18 crore, which includes Rs 1,083.7 crore taken as deposits and loans from depositors, Rs 711.36 crore of loans taken from banks and financial institutions, Rs 111.35 crore of debentures and Rs 136.77 crore of misappropriations in a land deal at Fursungi. On the financial problems faced by the Group, ACP More said, “It started facing problems around 2010 and by 2013, formed various partnership firms for collecting deposits. Then, in 2017, complaints were filed by depositors as the DSK Group was not giving them assured returns”.
Kulkarni and Hemanti were arrested from a hotel in Delhi on February 17. The couple are now lodged in Yerawada jail. Before his arrest, the real estate developer had held two press conferences in Pune and denied all charges levelled against him by the police.
The SIT has also arrested four more persons in connection with the case. Vinaykumar Raghvendra Badgandi, who worked in the finance department of the DSK Group, was arrested on Thursday. A day earlier, Kedar Wanjpe, Sai Wanjpe and Dhananjay Pachpor, who are relatives of Kulkarni, were arrested. A court has remanded the four to police custody till May 25. DCP Hiremath said they are looking for six more suspects.
Last week, the Maharashtra government had issued a notification to attach 124 properties, 276 bank accounts and 46 vehicles of the DSK Group, saying, “The state government is convinced that the said persons (Kulkarni, his wife and others) are not likely return the deposits to the depositors and hence the government has to protect the interests of the depositors.