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Delhi land scam: Kingpin arrested

Last updated on: August 06, 2007 11:24 IST

Officers of the Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday arrested the alleged kingpin of a multi-crore New Delhi land scam from the office of a television news channel.

Ashok Malhotra, who ran a canteen in the Delhi Assembly, and who was on the run since July 27 when the CBI raided his two houses in Mukherjee Nagar, was arrested from the Zee News television channel's studio in Noida.

He was giving an interview to the channel to give his side of version. He was accompanied by a battery of four top criminal lawyers of the country.

He denied owning a fleet of 52 cars as accused by the investigators, but accepted owning seventeen cars on his name.

He claimed that his life is in danger and that he will expose those threatening to liquidate him in court. Two people -- Kunwar Kanwarpal Singh and Surinder Singh Bittu -- who were named by Malhotra have now denied having any link with the 55-year-old canteen owner.

Malhotra alleged that most reports about him were false. He said he never sold cholle bhature or drove an auto rickshaw. "Let the reporter concerned say that he had cholle from my shop come and tell me here and now.

"Someone also said that I ran an auto rickshaw business. I was out of Delhi and warrants were issued against me on August 3. I was planning to surrender before the court. But later, I decided to come to a television studio," Malhotra told the television channel.

Malhotra denied having any link with Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, but admitted that he knew some people in the secretariat.

"I have been running the canteen for last eleven years. If I was not doing a good job then who would let me run the canteen. I never had anything to do with selling land," he said.

He also said he has two flats, two shops and seventeen cars and is worth Rs 10 crore.

 

Onkar Singh in New Delhi