Pune: Viman Nagar police refuse to file NRIs FIR over a property dispute
Pune: Ram Tolani, a 65-year-old non-resident Indian, based in Dubai, has alleged that the Pune police are refusing to register an FIR based on the email he has sent regarding a dispute with his tenant Vishakha Sandeep Gaikwad residing at his bungalow in Park Land society in Viman Nagar.
Tolani has said that police are asking him to travel to Pune city or give a consent letter to any person, except his lawyer, who on his behalf would file the complaint. However legal experts claimed that an email is a valid form of communication for registering FIR by police.
Tolani is suffering from chronic health conditions and due to the Covid-19 outbreak situation in Pune city, he is avoiding international travel. He has been staying in Dubai for the last 46 years and has claimed that the Dubai Consulate General of India has also communicated with the local authorities to help him. In his complaint, Tolani has alleged that his tenant has not paid the rent for about three years and they are refusing to vacate the property despite the rental agreement period being expired.
Speaking with Sakal Times, Tolani said, "Vishakha approached us in 2016. She claimed to be a social worker and also a Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) party worker. Vishakha showed interest in initially renting and later purchasing the bungalow. We agreed and entered into an 11-month contract with Rs 30,000 monthly rent. Since she intended to buy the bungalow, we did not take any deposit from her. For a couple of months, Gaikwad paid the rent on time but later defaulted. When asked to pay the amount and about the purchase agreement, Vishakha started threatening that she will not vacate the property and she will file false cases against me."
He added, "I have been repeatedly sending emails and other details to Pune city police and requested them to register an FIR based on my electronic mail. The Consulate of Dubai has also sent letters to follow up with the police. This property is of my hard-earned money and I am the legal owner. However, Gaikwads are living in my house illegally. I have also said in the email communication that due to the Covid-19 outbreak situation in Pune city, I cannot personally travel there and my email should be considered as a valid complaint document to register the FIR. I have also sent a letter about this to Pune Police Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner of Police and the State Home Minister but I have not received a fruitful response from them."
Deputy Commissioner of Police Pankaj Deshmukh said, "Complainant Tolani can assign power of attorney to someone who in turn can come to us and file the complaint on his behalf. Tolani has authorised his lawyer, but we need someone else to complain. We are there to help people. Though this case is a civil matter, we are taking efforts to help him.
Legal Expert says…
Advocate Chinmay Bhosale said, "Law mandates that 'every information' relating to the commission of an offence be acted upon and be duly recorded in the prescribed format by the investigating agencies. There is no negative list enlisted in codified law or precedents. Hence complaints made over e-mail also fall under this category. However, once the investigation has been initiated the investigating agency will summon the informant to sign the written information provided by him as mandated by section 154(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code."
Tolani's lawyer Rupali Patil-Thombare said, "Email of Tolani must be considered as FIR. Considering the Covid-19 outbreak, courts are also adopting digital communication for day to day hearing and judgements. Then why not a complaint sent via email can be acknowledged for registering an FIR."
The Other Side
Vishakha Gaikwad has however denied the allegation. She said, "We are being falsely implicated and defamed by Tolani. We are paying our rent as well as paid a token amount for the sale transaction of the bungalow. But Tolani is not ready to finalise the sale agreement. Tolani has moved to court and this matter is subjudice."