Melbourne, July 13: A recent property listing in Melbourne’s west, resulted in an assault charge, defamation suit, an intervention order application and finally an out-of-court settlement between Indian origin real estate agents.

The recent growth in real estate in Melbourne’s inner-west corridors, has witnessed fierce listing competition between real estate agents in Melbourne’s west. This has led to normal competition between the rival businesses resulting in many heated verbal exchanges, according to locals in the area.

The rivalry between Laverton based, Ace Real Estate agent Vikram Pal and Suneet Kumar of Metricon Holdings Group, trading as Stockdale and Leggo came to a head when it was alleged that the former assaulted the latter, during an appraisal of a Laverton residential property, in March last year.

Suneet Kumar of Stockdale and Leggo has since retracted his claims

An assault complaint was filed by Kumar at the Altona North police station on the evening of the incident.

Police later charged Pal with assaulting and threatening to kill Kumar.

Pal is Ace Real Estate’s top agent, winning Laverton’s 2018 Agent of the Year.

It emerged that the nasty incident occurred after Kumar had just appraised a 10 bedroom unit block, worth about $700,000, on behalf of its owner; when, according to police brief, he saw Pal park his vehicle in front of his.

It was alleged that Pal then got out and went up to Kumar, accusing him of approaching his clients.

The police brief states: “The accused then grabbed the victim by the collar, raised a clenched fist over his shoulder and said ‘I will kill you, you don’t know how powerful I am’. The victim then told the accused to step back and leave him alone.”

Vikram Pal of Ace Real Estate

Pal however, denied all wrongdoing in an interview, saying he did not grab Kumar’s shirt and tie, nor did he call him “a mother—-er”.

Kumar then went on to post about the incident on Facebook, saying the accused “could not handle competition and chose this as an easy solution to shut me down”.

Pal in turn, alleged that the post was defamatory and filed civil proceedings against Kumar and his employer in the County Court, which led Kumar to file an application for an intervention order against Pal.

The owner of the 648-square metre property on Bladin Street gave a witness statement as part of the criminal case, which read that he saw Pal punch Kumar in the face and push him to the ground.

However, both criminal and civil proceedings scheduled for this year never went to court, after police dropped the criminal charges due to inconsistencies in evidence.

The intervention order application, which was due to be heard on the same day, was also withdrawn and the defamation suit settled with Pal receiving an undisclosed sum on July 9.

Kumar published a retraction of his claims.

Ramakrishna VenuGopal

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