Pune: Bank accounts of Maple group, booked on charges of cheating people with a misleading ad of a low cost housing scheme, have been frozen by authorities and it has been barred from doing any land transaction, Maharashtra minister Girish Bapat said on Thursday even as he rejected allegation that he had links with the accused builder.
He also said that the money collected by the city-based builder will be refunded to the depositors from today.
The company is facing charges of cheating and criminal conspiracy to dupe people with misleading advertisements that projected its Rs five lakh one bedroom kitchen flats as part of the central government's Pradhanmantri Avas Yojana (PAMY) and the case is being investigated by the economic offence wing of Pune police.
The advertisements that attracted an estimated 20,000 people to enroll for the scheme with money deposits, prominently featured pictures of Prime Minister Modi, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Bapat who is State Food and Civil supplies minister and also guardian minister of Pune district.
Bapat, who is facing flak over the controversy, denied allegations that he had links with Maple promoter Sachin Agarwal whose photographs with the minister at public functions have surfaced in social media.
"Maple's accounts which are related to the controversial" Maharashtra Housing Day" cheap housing have been frozen and the firm barred from doing any land transfer transactions," Bapat told reporters here today.
Even as Raj Thackeray-led MNS continued its agitation demanding Bapat's resignation for his alleged proximity with Maple group chairman and managing director Agarwal, the minister stated that he never had any "personal meeting" with the accused.
Meanwhile, Deepak Sakore, economic wing officer of Pune Police, said he was probing the case and collecting all relevant information regarding the scheme, disowned by the PAY and state government.
"People should come forward to register their complaints regarding the scheme," he added.