The Azad Maidan police has arrested top criminal lawyer, Ashok Saraogi and two other advocates, Ivy Jacob Tauro and Sohel Kazi in a cheating and forgery case against them. Saraogi, who had previously represented gangster Abu Salem and was more recently appearing for Rahul Raj Singh, boyfriend of TV actor Pratyusha Banerjee, who committed suicide on April 1, surrendered before the police on Sunday. He was produced before the magistrate court and has been sent to police custody till April 25, said DCP Zone I, Manojkumar Sharma. He said that Saraogi had previously cited health problems and had approached other courts seeking anticipatory bail.
Saraogi’s anticipatory bail had been rejected by Sessions court and the Bombay High Court after which he approached the Supreme Court. On Sunday, Sarogi surrendered before the Azad Maidan police station after having earlier withdrawn his anticipatory bail plea in SC. A court ordered inquiry report in October by then DCP Zone I Ravindra Shiswe on the role of the trio, had recommended criminal proceedings to be initiated against them leading to the filing of an FIR against them in October last year.
The case pertains to a cheating and forgery complaint filed by Mumbai resident Nickee Bagaria, who had discovered that her estranged husband Ashish Bagaria and father-in-law, Santosh Kumar Bagaria had allegedly illegally signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a businessmen named Vinod Kumar Jhunjhunwala for the sale of eight parcels of land in Raigad over which she held the power of attorney.
Nickee had submitted to the court that the two held the power of attorney but she had revoked it in September 2014. An MoU was however allegedly executed by the Bagarias with Jhunjhunwala by backdating it to April 15, 2010. The MoU stated that the land was jointly owned by the two parties, that Jhunjhunwala had given the Bagarias a loan of Rs 92 lakh and that when the land was sold, the Bagarias were to pay Rs 1 crore to Jhunjhunwala. Nickee had contended before court that this was done to ‘deprive her’ of the property which was on her name. Justice SJ Kahtawalla, who was hearing the matter in Bombay High Court, had observed that the accused had ‘committed a fraud on this court’ and that the Bagarias and Jhunjhunwala had fabricated an award through their advocates to usurp the said property of the petitioner.
The judge had ordered the Mumbai Police Commissioner to appoint a DCP to conduct an inquiry and register an FIR.