The medical college police arrested A. Sajeev Kumar, 42, the publisher-cum-chief editor of Sayahnam, an evening daily, and a real estate broker, on the charge of deceiving several people using forged title deeds and documents.
He had taken over Rs.4 crore from investors in Kozhikode, Kannur, Thrissur, Ernakulam, and Thiruvananthapuram districts, the police said.
The arrest was on the basis of a complaint filed by Smitha, wife of Suresh Kumar, 50, of Pottamal, a victim in the cheating case. Suresh Kumar had committed suicide after the accused duped him of Rs.60 lakh in a fake land deal, K. Ullas, Circle Inspector, said.
Investigators said Sajeev Kumar approached investors interested in real estate by offering them land below market rates in Ernakulam.
He lured them by stating that as a journalist and publisher he wielded influence at the government level. Sometimes he also threatened them, the officer said.
Suresh Kumar was forced to sell his land at Thondayad here for Rs.70 lakh. He then handed over Rs.60 lakh to Sajeev to buy another plot, the owner of which had no intention of selling it.
Later, he found that the deal was fake as Sajeev had no association with the landowner, the police said. Several people had been similarly duped. One of the victims was a bank manager, he said.
The newspaper is published erratically from Kozhikode and Kannur and its office was located near the Civil Station.
The police had raided the office, Mr. Ullas said. Sanjeev was arrested under section 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property); 406 (criminal breach of trust); 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating); and 306 (abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code.
He was produced in the Kunnamangalam Judicial First Class Magistrate Court and was remanded in judicial custody for 14 days.