Mukanchand Bothra, a prominent film financier, was arrested earlier this week in Chennai. Investigation officer Vinod Kumar from the Police Commissioner’s office told Silverscreen that the financier was allegedly in the habit of altering loan documents and charging exorbitant rates.
While Bothra was arrested after a complaint from a man called Mani from Virugambakkam, more people have come forward with complaints since then. Mani had taken a loan of Rs 21 lakh from Bothra, for which he provided 24 post-dated cheques and also signed some blank promissory notes. Mani was not able to repay the loan in time and during this period, Bothra allegedly added Rs 20 lakh and Rs 35 lakh in the promissory notes and filed a case against Mani for non-repayment. Bothra also asked Mani to pay Rs 1 crore if he wanted the police case to be withdrawn. Following this, Mani registered a complaint with the crime branch.
The financier has been held under the Goondas Act, on the directive of Chennai Police Commissioner AK Viswanathan. Bothra’s sons — Sandip, Gagan — have also been arrested.
J Sathish Kumar, producer of National Award winning Thangameenkal, said that Bothra tried to take over his two houses worth Rs 40 crores as payment for a loan. “I borrowed Rs 15 lakh from Bothra. He added exorbitant rates to the loan and said that the amount I now owed him was nearly Rs 2 crores, and said that to fully repay the loan, I need to transfer two of my bungalows. Together, that property is worth Rs 40 crores. This is thievery. I immediately went to the police.”
Another man, G Senthil of T Nagar, had taken a loan of Rs 83 lakhs from Bothra to renovate his hotel. “I repaid the amount with interest, but Bothra insisted that I owed him more. He showed me documents in which I supposedly owed him an additional Rs 5 crore. When I questioned him, Bothra and his sons threatened me. They even released an advertisement in papers alleging that they’d taken over my hotel.”
Vinod Kumar said that Bothra’s modus operandi was to get people to sign over the blank promissory notes and documents. He’d later alter them to show a much higher amount than the one originally loaned. Together with his sons, he’d intimidate them into paying him the amount. “This has been going for a long time. It is only now that people are coming forward to file a case against him,” he added.
Since Bothra has been arrested under the Goondas Act, he is not likely to get a bail for at least a year, Vinod said. He is currently under investigation with the Central Crime Branch. “He has some eye issues, so we are monitoring and providing medical support when needed,” Vinod said.
Feature Image Courtesy: Movie Galleri