NEW DELHI: Lawyer Yashpal Singh — caught on camera thrashing JNU teachers, students and journalists at Patiala House courts complex and now finally arrested in the case — faces arrest in a case of cheating and forgery too. This relates to an FIR lodged by Delhi police in 2014. His plea for anticipatory bail was rejected by a Delhi court on January 29 this year, and on Tuesday the Delhi high court refused to grant him immediate relief.
Even as a bench of Justice Pratibha Rani heard the pleas of JNU students Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid, Singh’s plea for anticipatory bail came up in the same block before Justice Suresh Kait.
Singh has been accused of trying to sell off a dead woman’s plot of land by propping up a woman accomplice as the owner and pocketing Rs 45 lakh. Speaking to TOI, he admitted he had filed the anticipatory bail plea in the high court but claimed he was innocent.
The complainant, Sudhir Kumar, lodged a case in Greater Kailash police station under sections of forgery, cheating and criminal conspiracy. If convicted, Singh could face life sentence. Justice Kait refused to grant any immediate relief to the lawyer and has kept the plea pending for Wednesday, when Kumar will argue why Singh doesn’t deserve any relief from the court.
In his complaint, Kumar has claimed that Singh was introduced to him by a common acquaintance who said the “Supreme Court lawyer” had a good deal to offer on a property located in GK-I. Later, when Kumar met the lawyer in a chamber in Tis Hazari, Singh allegedly claimed he represented one Rajkumari Dhaweja, a 78-year-old widow who didn’t have any children.
Lawyer Yashpal Singh told Sudhir Kumar one Rajkumari Dhaweja was the sole owner of the property, and in the absence of a legal inheritor, she wanted to sell it and settle down in the US with her nephew. The lawyer claimed the woman trusted him and had given him the responsibility of disposing of the plot where a caretaker lived at present. Singh assured Kumar the caretaker would leave once the plot was sold and went on to produce a general power of authority (GPA) along with an authority letter signed by Dhaweja.
The FIR says that when Kumar insisted on meeting the widow, Singh claimed she lived in Kanpur and wouldn’t be able to travel to Delhi often. Only when the deal was through and an advance amount paid would she be able to visit Delhi, the lawyer added, arranging a conversation on the phone with a woman who assured Kumar she had owned the plot for the past 24 years and that it was free of any litigation and ripe for sale.
The deal was finally settled at Rs 3.80 crore and an agreement to sell was signed after Kumar claimed to have paid Rs 45 lakh in cash and another Rs 45 lakh through two cheques.
Kumar got suspicious when 15 days later he went to see the plot and was shocked to find one Prakash Gautam sitting on it. Gautam denied he was the caretaker and said he owned the property. A shocked Kumar stopped payment for the cheques and confronted Singh, who assured him that the old woman was the actual owner. He then arranged a meeting between Kumar and a woman who allegedly produced a PAN card showing her name to be Rajkumari Dhaweja.
Still unsure, Kumar dug deeper only to find the original Dhaweja had died in Chandigarh in 2001 and was survived by four children. Kumar claimed it later came out that the property papers had been forged and contained fake signatures. When confronted once again, Singh dilly-dallied initially but later threatened Kumar with dire consequences, leading to the registration of the case.
In his current bail plea, Singh said he had already paid back Rs 55 lakh of the total amount but due to financial constraints couldn’t meet the deadline fixed by the court due to which his bail plea was cancelled. He has urged the HC not to act as a recovery agent at the instance of Kumar, assuring that an out-of-court settlement had been reached.
He told TOI, “I have already paid a substantial amount, and there is more to the case which I will share with you tomorrow when the case is coming up again.”