Over 140 goons barge into King Koti Palace

Act allegedly on behalf of jeweller Sukesh Gupta: Police

Hyderabad: The famous King Koti palace, where the last Nizam stayed, on Monday turned into a war zone with scores of people, allegedly acting on behalf of jeweller Sukesh Gupta, an accused in several bank and land fraud cases, forcibly trying to gain entry into the palace and take its possession.

The Nazri Bagh Palace Trust, the custodian of the palace, had handed over the possession of the palace and issued delivery certificate to the Mumbai-based Neeharika Infrastructure Pvt Ltd on March 28 after the company completed the sale transaction. The company also got the registered sale deed released in its favour by clearing all the stamp duty arrears.

According to police, about 140 persons, some of them even carrying swords and lathis, tried to enter the palace and break open the gate using an earthmover. The city police acted swiftly and took about 40 people into custody while the others fled.

Assistant commissioner of police K. Venkat Reddy said a case of trespassing was registered against people who tried to enter the palace and an inquiry is on.

The hectic activity was seen at Narayanguda police station where both parties claiming possession of the property were summoned by the police. Interestingly, the representative of Sukesh Gupta at one stage proposed that the police take control of the palace and keep it in their custody till the dispute is resolved.

Significantly, the Enforcement Directorate had registered a case against Sukesh Gupta on charges of money laundering and selling the palace using fraudulent documents and fake sale deeds. A case with similar allegations is also underway in National Company Law Tribunal.

Rajesh Agarwal of Neeharika Infrastructure told this correspondent that Sukesh Gupta and Biyani had initially entered into an agreement with the trust and his company later invested Rs 70 crore, cleared all the arrears including the pending amount to be paid to the Trust and took possession of 28,000 square yards.

Agarwal also alleged that Sukesh Gupta’s men who were acting as directors had forged board resolutions and sold the property to another company with backdated sale deed. “However, the trust after receiving the full sale consideration handed over the possession to us,” Agarwal said, adding “attempts were being made to project as if we were not in possession.”

Agrawal also alleged that a city ruling party MLA had been helping Sukesh Gupta and presence of a confidant of the MLA and his demand to the police to release his men gave credence to these allegations.

“I saw a mob first damaged the yellow gate of Nizam-ki-Devdi with a JCB and around 130 to 140 men, one or two of them armed with swords and the others with lathis, barged into the gate,” said Mazhar Khan an automobile shop owner who was passing by.

Later after the police arrived and bolted the gate from inside many of them fled while some who were trying were caught and held in the police van, he said.

Meanwhile, Neeharika Infrastructure moved a lunch motion in the Telangana High Court seeking a direction to the police to not interfere in the case as it was a civil dispute. The court will take up the case for hearing on Tuesday.

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