Kerala

Corpn. officials suspect meddling of middlemen in building number scam

The Thiruvananthapuram Corporation authorities suspect the involvement of middlemen in facilitating building numbers illegally for unauthorised buildings.

An elaborate fraud using the user IDs and passwords of various revenue officials to issue building numbers to illegal structures was unearthed in the Corporation on Monday, following a thorough check of building number allocations in three zonal offices for a period of two months.

Mayor Arya Rajendran said that orders had been issued to scrutinise the assessment of buildings in the area, as the Corporation suspected the role of middlemen and agents in securing building numbers illegally for their clients. She cautioned the public against falling into the trap of agents. The public could approach the Corporation directly or get in touch with their respective ward councillors for various needs.

Checks were also carried out in the engineering wing on Tuesday for any files related to the two commercial buildings in Marappalam, for which building numbers were allocated illegally. The files related to occupancy certificates of buildings were supposed to be vetted by the engineering wing, which had to then send a recommendation to the revenue wing for completion certificate and issuing of building number. However, no file related to the buildings at Marappalam had been received at the engineering wing in the past three years.

Corporation authorities suspect those involved in the fraud to have bypassed the engineering wing, as the structures in question were unfit to get approvals. The two commercial buildings were found to have illegal extensions to the road.

The entire fraud was executed using one of the data entry systems of the revenue wing. One person had logged in using the login IDs and passwords of the bill collector, the revenue inspector, and the revenue officer to submit, verify and approve the application for building number in the gap of six minutes, before the working hours started on January 28 this year.

A team from the city Cyber Police Station visited the Corporation on Tuesday as part of the investigation and gathered evidence. The Corporation has also begun an internal probe, with S. Jayakumar, the revenue officer, being given the responsibility to head it.


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Printable version | Aug 9, 2022 11:37:01 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/corpn-officials-suspect-meddling-of-middlemen-in-building-number-scam/article65603405.ece