A Navi Mumbai-based builder was arrested on Wednesday late night for duping people in the pretext of selling them newly constructed flats at dirt-cheap rates. The man who claims to be the managing director of a construction firm, have been accused of collecting a total of Rs 4.22 lakh by duping over 150 buyers. However according to Abhijeet Patil, the activist who has taken up this issue with the police, the number of people duped and the money collected is much more. \"Mahendra Pawan Kumar Singh (the accused) has cheated over 300 buyers and has collected more than Rs 10 crore. He showed them plots in Sukhapur, Adai, Akruli and also the construction plan as decided by the architects. This convinced them and they ended up paying the advance amount, which ranged between Rs 50,000 and 5 lakh,\" said Patil. The average rate of flats in Panvel is Rs 5,000 per square feet, whereas Mahendra was \'selling\' those for Rs 3,500 per square feet. The middle class buyers were lured by this offer and got cheated. \"They booked their flats in 2011 and till date, no construction has started,\" added Patil. After sensing that they have been cheated, the victims had approached the Khandeshwar police several times and had also given a written complaint. Unhappy with the police progress, they approached the Navi Mumbai Alert Forum, which gave a written complaint to Prabhat Rajan, Commissioner of Police. \"Mahendra claims to be the MD of a group of companies, headed by Tirupati Balaji Builders and Construction Limited. The group has a total of 14 firms and four offices in Navi Mumbai. We have submitted all these details to the police,\" added Patil, the president of Navi Mumbai Alert Forum The Khandeshwar police have registered a case of cheating against the builder under section 420 of the Indian penal code. \"Apart from Mahendra, we have also arrested one Bablu Ashok Gupta, the other director of the firm,\" said Amar Desai, senior police inspector, Khandeshwar police station. While the next hearing for Mahendra is on May 3, Gupta\'s is scheduled for today. http://www.mid-day.com/articles/navi-mumbai-builder-associate-arrested-for-duping-people-of-lakhs/17184187
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