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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Pune: ‘Owner’ of Vaishali Hotel booked on charges of cheating and forgery

Jagannath’s sister-in-law Shashikala Shriram Shetty (63), a resident of Cycle Society in Quarter Gate, had lodged an FIR at the Deccan police station on Thursday.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
April 15, 2017 4:55:47 am
Pune, Pune Vaishali, Vaishali hotel, Vaishali Hotel cheating scam, Pune Vaishali scam, latest news, latest india news, indian express The Madras Health Home was renamed Vaishali. (Express/Pavan Khengre)

The Pune city police on Thursday registered an offence against Jagannath Honayya Shetty (63), who claims to be the owner of the reputed Vaishali Hotel on F C Road, and his relative Shashendra Sundar Shetty, manager of Rupali hotel, for allegedly taking over the business with forged documents and cheating the family members of the hotels’ founder, Shridhar Babu Shetty. Jagannath’s sister-in-law Shashikala Shriram Shetty (63), a resident of Cycle Society in Quarter Gate, had lodged an FIR at the Deccan police station on Thursday. Police have booked Jagannath and Shashendra under sections 406, 420, 465, 466, 472, 474, 505 (1), 34 of the IPC.

In her statement to police, Shashikala said her father Shridhar had started four hotels – Nirmal Bhavan on J M Road, Madras Cafe and Madras Health Home on F C Road, and Hotel Bhairav near the PMC building, between 1945 and 1950. (Madras Health Home was renamed Vaishali in 1968 and Madras Cafe was renamed Rupali in 1969). According to the statement, Shridhar died in a road accident on February 14, 1961. Shashikala’s cousin Jagannath was then a staffer at the Madras Cafe (Rupali) and lived in the staff quarters of the hotel. Jagannath, who “was soft-spoken, sweet”, started looking after the hotel business. Later, Jagannath married Shridhar’s elder daughter Shakuntala. He got the names of the hotels changed with permission from his mother-in-law Appi Shetty.

In the meanwhile, Appi asked Jagannath to furnish details of all their assets, including hotels, real estate and gold, as she wanted to prepare her will, But Jagannath allegedly started avoiding her. Later, he allegedly told Appi he would not give her any details as he had got all the property transferred in his name.

After Appi filed a police complaint against Jagannath, he allegedly promised to return the property and settle all financial issues. He also gave four cheques of Rs 50 lakh each to Appi; two were deposited in August and September 2015, but the other two bounced. Meanwhile, after Jagannath’s wife Shakuntala died in 2006, he appointed his cousin Shashendra Shetty as manager of Rupali hotel for the next five years. An agreement was signed between Shashendra and Appi Shetty in this regard, as per Jagannath’s wish. Shashendra had been working as a waiter at the hotel since 1968.

As per the agreement, Shashendra was supposed to share the profit made at Rupali hotel with Appi and her children. In 2011, the agreement was extended for five more years. However, Shashendra allegedly didn’t give Appi any details of Hotel Rupali’s financial records.

In 2016, when Appi asked Shashendra for details about Rupali’s accounts, he allegedly threatened her, saying he would not return the hotel even after the agreement period was over. It is alleged that as per the instructions of Jagannath, Shashendra had prepared fake agreement papers. Complainant Shashikala has alleged that Jagannath “conspired with Shashendra to grab the entire business of Rupali hotel”.

Meanwhile, Shashikala’s mother Shashendra passed away. Shashikala, along with her sisters Jaya and Vijaya Shetty, filed a complaint application with the Pune police commissioner. The inquiry in this case was then handed over to Police Inspector Sambhaji Shirke of Khadak police station.

Shirke recorded statements of the persons concerned and based on the inquiry, an offence was lodged against Jagannath and Shashendra. Despite attempts to contact him, Jagannath Shetty was not available for comment.

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