ibnlive » India

Aug 06, 2007 at 05:14pm IST

Millionaire chholewala surrenders on TV

New Delhi: Delhi's so-called chholewala-turned-scamster Ashok Malhotra surfaced at a television studio in Noida on Monday after evading arrest for the past three days in connection with a multi-crore-rupee land scam, and later surrendered to the CBI.

Malhotra drove in to the studio on Monday morning and offered to surrender to the Central investigating agency, which has been probing the land scam as well as Malhotra's ill-gotten wealth.

He refuted allegations of his association with any politician as speculated in the media over the past few days and denied his involvement in the land scam. He said he had gone underground 'fearing for his life'. "I have been framed," the scamster claimed.

The alleged scamster offered to surrender on the condition that the CBI interrogates him in the presence of a legal team. CBI officials landed at the studio minutes after the news channel started beaming the surrender drama live and took Malhotra into custody in full view of television cameras.

The CBI, investigating Malhotra’s role in grabbing plots in the Dheerpur Phase-I, Gandhi Vihar, resettlement colony in North Delhi under fictitious names, had earlier issued summons to the alleged mastermind of the multi-crore-rupee land scam in the capital.

The Central investigating agency had last week made a ‘chance’ recovery of papers of Malhotra's 50-odd luxury cars and their ‘fancy numbers’ as well as a long list of his ‘contacts’.

On Sunday, CBI sleuths had fanned out across the city, with some of them even keeping tabs outside the houses of a couple of MLAs and municipal councilors considered close to Malhotra.

The agency had also launched a manhunt in Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab and western UP where Malhotra and his sons, Himanshu and Neeraj, are learnt to have some businesses. Agency sleuths were also keeping a close eye on Malhotra's politician friends and questioned his business contacts, employees and relatives to trace his hideout.

The agency stepped up its effort to trace Malhotra after getting a non-bailable warrant against him from the CBI special court on Saturday. The court had asked CBI to produce him on or before August 14.