Delhi: Businessman held for forging ASI letter to sell property

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New Delhi, Nov 11 (PTI) A 49-year-old businessman was arrested for allegedly forging a letter of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to sell his property located in the vicinity of a protected monument in Delhi's Panchsheel Park, police said on Wednesday.

The accused has been identified as Varun Krishna Vij, a resident of Panchsheel Park, they said.

Vij started a sales and marketing consultancy firm in 2012-13 but his business wasn't doing well. He wanted to sell his property, which is located at a distance of 40.5 metres from a monument protected by the ASI in Panchsheel Park, to maintain his lavish lifestyle, the police said.

He forged a no objection certificate (NOC) of the ASI to sell it, they said.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Economic Offences Wing) O P Mishra said a case was registered against Vij in 2018 on the basis of a complaint of one Ajay Chaudhary.

The complainant alleged that Vij had approached Chaudhary to sell his property in 2011. After due negotiations, Chaudhary pointed out that it was located in the vicinity of a protected monument, he said.

To convince him, the accused produced a copy of the letter purportedly issued by the ASI, the officer said.

The letter dated February 2, 2012, stated the property is located 200.5 metres away from the protected monument and the competent authority had directed the accused to submit an application for construction, he said.

According to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, no construction is allowed within the first 100 metres of an ASI monument which is known as prohibited area. However, renovation and restoration work can be carried out.

In the next 200 metres, known as regulated area, construction work can be carried out after approval by the competent authority.

Chaudhary believed the accused and entered into an agreement with him to buy the property for Rs 21.21 crore. In pursuance of the agreement, he paid a sum of Rs 7.21 crore from his personal account and Rs 1.10 crore from his company's account to the accused, Mishra said.

However, even after receiving the payment, Vij did not transfer the property to him, the officer said.

After Chaudhary made enquiries, he realised he had been duped. The NOC letter of ASI was forged by the accused, Mishra said. PTI AMP DIV DIV