No bail for man accused of forging papers to redevelop Rs 1,000-cr Worli property
 
The Sessions Court on Monday rejected the anticipatory bail application of a 67-year-old man, accused of forging documents of his wife's ancestral property and trying to redevelop a sprawling 9,555.63 sq m property, the market price of which is estimated to be about Rs 1,000 crore.

Amirali Ebrahim Shroff, who along with his wife Razia, has been managing Razia's ancestral property — Fatakadawala Chawl — is alleged to have forged the power of attorney, according to the police. The property in Worli, one of the prime areas of Mumbai, was acquired on lease by Razia's grandfather in 1946 for Rs 9.5 lakh. With the family settling in different parts of the country, the management of the property was apparently handed over to the Shroffs.

According to the investigators, Razia and two of her siblings are legal heirs of numerous properties in Bandra, Andheri and Santacruz. However, according to the police, the Worli property remained disputed as Razia's grandfather, Ramzan Ali Lakhani — who had originally acquired the property on lease — had not passed on the power of attorney to his legal heirs. As per the land records, the property has exchanged a few hands when Lakhani had mortgaged the property in times of crisis.

However, in 2007, when Shroff put out advertisements in newspapers calling for interested developers to redevelop the area, one of the tenants raised an alarm. Soon after the principal judge rejected the application, Shroff was taken in to custody by the Azad Maidan police.

Fatakadawala Chawl housed several families and a portion of it has been leased to warehouses and small industrial establishments. The complaint was initiated by one such tenant in 2007. "Shevantilal Khapsi approached the police soon after the Shroffs put out advertisements publicising their willingness to redevelop the area. He brought to the police's notice that the Shroffs had forged documents," said Special Public Prosecutor Kalpana Chavan.

Shroff, who had moved the Sessions Court in February this year, claimed he was falsely implicated in the case to malign his and his family's name. The case was registered following the High Court's observation that prima facie the documents seemed to have been forged and fabricated and legal action should be initiated against the Shroffs.

Shroff has been pleading for over nine months before the Sessions Court, seeking exemption against arrest.