A major case of land grabbing act by a gang has come to light in the suburban pockets, which are fast developing as extension colonies, of the city.

After preliminary investigations, the District Crime Bureau police arrested six persons in this connection on Wednesday. An official attached to the office of the joint sub-registrar at By-pass Road is also figuring as one of the accused. Addressing a press conference, Superintendent of Police Asra Garg said that based on the confessions of the gang members, it gives an impression that they had allegedly indulged in this illegal act since 2008. Initial probe looks like they had committed the offence to an extent of about 150 acres mainly covering locations, to name a few, Anaiyur, Park Town (near P and T Nagar), Kalai Nagar, Pasupathi Nagar, Karthik Nagar, Balaji Nagar, Vasu Nagar, Adisaya Nagar, and Jai Nagar. The market worth of these fake transactions may be several hundred crore as the survey numbers/documents had a number of houses — big, medium and small constructed — in the recent years.

The modus operandi of the gang is to first, identify immovable properties (belonging to the gullible public) in the above areas. It could be either a piece of vacant plot or a pucca residential/commercial building. Then the gang (one would pose himself as seller, another as buyer) creates a false document and registers the same (sale agreement) with the sub-registar's office. The parent document (which is forged) would read as though the immovable property originally belonged to their (gang members) ancestors' and that they were the legal heirs to it. So far, they had committed such a fraud in at least 153 acres since the last three years, and it has come to light now. The real trouble for genuine land owners comes when he/she proposes to construct a building or plans to mortgage a property with the banker seeking home or other type of loans. Along with the documents to be submitted, the borrower has to furnish the encumbrance certificate (EC), which would reflect the names of the gang members as the owners. The EC is issued by the sub-registrar office, where the properties are registered. The genuine land owner would be unaware of the strange names figuring in the EC.

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