In a significant breakthrough, the economic offences wing of Mira-Bhayandar, Vasai-Virar (MBVV) police made a decisive move on Monday by apprehending a notorious individual implicated under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). The accused, identified as Vijay Purshottam Salvi, commonly known as Vijay Tambat, had managed to elude authorities by fleeing the country. A Lookout Circular (LOC) was issued against him in 2021, marking him as a high-priority target for law enforcement.

Salvi’s journey to justice began when immigration officials intercepted him upon his arrival at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) from the United Arab Emirates. Subsequently, he was handed over to the Thane crime branch, responsible for investigating the MCOCA case against him. Taking the reins on Tuesday, the MBVV police secured his custody and promptly presented him before the Vasai court, resulting in a remand in police custody until November 28.

The roots of this legal entanglement delve into a case filed in 2022 at the Achole police station in Vasai East. Salvi found himself accused of seizing a substantial 60 acres of land that originally belonged to private individuals. Shockingly, it was revealed that he had erected 41 illegal buildings on the land two decades ago. The trigger for the case was a complaint filed by Ajay Sharma, the caretaker of approximately 30 acres within the disputed plot.

According to Sharma, Sitaram Gupta, a former corporator affiliated with the Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA), and his associates orchestrated the land grab using allegedly forged documents. The charges slapped against them encompassed sections 420, 447, 465, 467, 468, 471, 474, and 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

The sequence of events took a twist when Achole police arrested Sitaram Gupta on September 23, following his unsuccessful attempts to secure anticipatory bail from both the sessions court and the Bombay High Court. Gupta’s arrest unveiled a shocking revelation: Gupta, his brother, and other collaborators had not only seized 60 acres of land but had also manipulated ownership documents. Half of the expropriated land was originally earmarked for a water purification plant and dumping ground. Gupta subsequently sold the entire tract to various builders, leading to the construction of 41 unauthorized buildings on the ill-gotten land.

In the course of Gupta’s interrogation, a startling connection emerged. Gupta claimed to have acquired the land from none other than Vijay Salvi, who allegedly exploited the influence and name of underworld gangster Ravi Pujari in the land grab. Although Gupta is presently out on bail, Salvi vehemently denies any involvement in the Achole land grab, adamantly refuting the sale of land to Gupta or any other party.

A police officer from the economic offences wing of the MBVV police stated, “We are currently in the process of ascertaining the facts and collecting the necessary documents.” The investigation is poised to unravel the intricate web of deceit and land manipulation that has ensnared these individuals, shedding light on the depth of criminal activities and connections that have plagued the Achole land grab case.

As the legal proceedings unfold, the spotlight remains on Vijay Salvi, the alleged mastermind behind the extensive land grab operation. Authorities are determined to sift through the evidence, separate fact from fiction, and deliver justice to those who have fallen victim to this complex and deeply entrenched criminal enterprise.