A property dealer swindled the South Korean embassy of Rs 57 lakh, on the pretext of providing premises to set up a cultural centre, police said on Sunday, citing the complaint filed by the mission.
According to the First Information Report (FIR) filed by Kim Kum Pyoung, first secretary (cultural affairs) at the South Korean embassy, the accused, Yashwant Singh had promised to rent a four-storey building in south Delhi's Greater Kailash area to the embassy, despite already renting out the premises to another tenant.
"Based on the complaint, a case has been registered against Singh and the investigation has been started," a police official said.
During his state visit in 2010, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak had promised Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of opening a cultural centre in New Delhi.
"The embassy has wasted five valuable months due to the fraudulent act of Yaswant Singh and due to which it has not been able to open the cultural centre in 2011 as promised by the Republic of Korea to the Indian Government," said Kim's complaint.
According to the complaint, the embassy selected the property, A-24, Kailash Colony, as the location for the centre and contacted Singh, who held the power of attorney for the property and promised the diplomats that the whole building would be available to them.
However, Ashutosh Verma, brother of Singh's friend was already living in the building's first floor and Singh assured the embassy officials that Verma would vacate the premises within three months, the complaint said.
Assured, the embassy signed the lease and handed over the check of Rs.57 lakh to Singh, who duly encashed it. However, he "concealed the fact that Verma is a tenant with whom he has signed a lease deed for the first floor on January 2011 for three years", Kim said in his complaint.
The fraud was revealed when the embassy tried to get a phone connection installed in December 2011 but Verma objected to it and called the police.
Verma told embassy officials that Singh had also signed another agreement in September 2011 for a period of nine years for the use of the entire basement, ground floor and second floor.
"Singh was supposed to hand over the physical possession of the whole property to the embassy within three months of the execution of the agreement by March 31, 2012 but he failed to honour the terms of the agreement," the complaint read.
He later promised the embassy through a letter on April that he would return Rs.57 lakh by April 30 but again, the commitment was not met.
"Singh had full knowledge of all the facts that he had signed several documents with Verma, the tenant and had taken around Rs 2 crore from Verma, but these facts were intentionally and wilfully not disclosed by him to the embassy," Kim alleged.