Whistleblower arrested for extortion

Written By Unknown on Jumat, 15 Februari 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Dattaram Pedamkar, who complained of a slum redevelopment project coming up on a plot owned by Nehru Science Centre, was arrested last week by the Tardeo police on charges of extortion. Pedamkar (45), a resident of Mariamma Nagar in Worli, allegedly demanded Rs 20,000 from a Haji Ali hawker Iqbal Shaikh.

Pedamkar was produced before the 4th Girgaum metropolitan magistrate and remanded in police custody till February 9. But in the court, Shaikh filed an affidavit, saying he never made any allegations against Pedamkar.

"Shaikh is an illiterate man. Tardeo police misled him into signing a complaint. We have brought this to the notice of the court but when the latter did not take any cognizance, we filed a writ petition in the high court, saying police registered a bogus case against my client,'' said Pedamkar's advocate Yusuf Khan.

Senior inspector of Tardeo police Ajinder Thakur said, "I don't know why Shaikh retracted the complaint. We filed the FIR on the basis of his complaint in November. Shaikh may be under pressure to withdraw the complaint.''

Cops alleged that Pedamkar is an extortionist as there are cases against him. But his lawyer alleged that he has been framed because he filed a complaint against a senior officer in the SRA project.

In January, Pedamkar had lodged a complaint in court against former SRA chief Debashish Chakraborty, builder Akshay Sthapatya, his architect Pravin Naik and six others, including SRA officers who had approved the Mariamma Nagar slum scheme, adjoining the National Sports Complex. Pedamkar said he learned of this when the Nehru Science Centre, in response to his query under the Right to Information Act in 2011, said they had not granted any no-objection certificate. They have been charged with cheating, forgery, breach of trust and projecting false documents as true.

Pravin Naik said Nehru Centre owns the plot. "There was a consent term between Nehru Centre and Akshay Sthapatya to construct a building on the corner of the plot measuring 2233.76 sq m. "Accordingly, construction plan was approved by SRA in which 15% of the area was agreed to be given to Nehru Centre, so all Pedamkar's allegations are false. Nehru Centre has given NOC for the SRA project.''

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