For a lot of us living in India’s relatively bigger and busier cities, the town of Saharanpur remains a mystery. If you are a Delhiite, the last time you heard of it, you were probably reading breaking news about communal tensions and violence rising in UP West.
Saharanpur is a small town tucked away between villages of Mavi Kalan, Alipura, Gagalheri, Deoband and parts of Muzzafarnagar, that are largely underdeveloped.
There’s not much that Saharanpur has to offer in terms of scenic locations to visit, but it does house the famous Nau Gaza peer, which is a place of religious importance to both Muslims and Hindus.
It is among the very few places in the country where a mosque and a temple are built side by side. Hindus and Muslims come here to offer their prayers together and the peer is known to promote communal harmony.
Why is it that such a small town manages to make headlines in national newspapers almost regularly?
India Today reports that cases of dacoity, rape, and murder have constantly been rising at alarming rates in Saharanpur, despite Yogi Adityanath’s police force reshuffling and warnings of harsh punishment.
According to the 2011 population census, Saharanpur is home to approximately 56% Hindus and 42% Muslims. This is to say that there is no clear religious majority and communal clashes are a common occurrence.
To compare, Delhi is home to 81% Hindus and 13% Muslims, according to the same census.
Apart from the religious tensions and violence, other crimes like loots and scams have also been rising in Saharanpur, Meerut, Muzzafarnagar and other neighbouring regions.
Here are a few strange scams of India that find their roots in Saharanpur:
#1 The Gupta Brothers Scam
Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta, three brothers from Saharanpur, arrived in South Africa a year before Nelson Mandela won the country’s first democratic elections.
The Guptas have been known to amass their wealth by linking business to politics by establishing close ties with the family of the erstwhile President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma.
Gupta brothers expanded their business in various sectors including mining, air travel, energy, technology and media, The Indian Express reported. According to sources, the Gupta brothers owned newspaper The New Age and news channel ANN7, would often paint the Zuma government in a positive light.
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In March 2016, Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas said that Gupta brothers had offered to make him Finance Minister in 2015 in return for illegal state favours.
The Guptas allegedly flew in wedding guests in a private Jet Airways Airbus A330 in the Waterkloof Air Force base, which is reserved only for the country’s visiting heads of state, according to the Indian Express.
They were also responsible for embezzling millions of dollars’ worth of public money, which was originally intended to support poor farmers.
#2 The College Scholarship Scam
The probe team of Saharanpur Police found that 32 private colleges of Saharanpur were allegedly submitting fake lists of Scheduled Caste students to withdraw money from government scholarship schemes.
The colleges managed to steal 125 crore rupees by depositing scholarship money in fake bank accounts. The extent of the scam can be gauged by the fact that some colleges showed all their students as SC.
#3 The Cooperative Bank Scam
A cooperative bank manager based in Saharanpur created 31 fake IDs of customers and looted them of approximately 6.5 crore rupees. The manager showed Fixed Deposits submitted by the customers and embezzled the interest money on the same.
The scam came to light when a particular customer came to collect his own interest money and the bank records showed a loan of 25 lakh rupees on his account.
Know of any scams from Saharanpur that we missed?
Image Credits: Google Images
Sources: Indian Express, Times Of India, India Today + more
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