Investigations unearth scam worth Rs.400 crores in Bangalore North Taluk
Around 6,400 sites are sold to multiple buyers with fake or manipulated
Bureaucrats, builders and politicians colluded to falsify documents and sell the same site to multiple buyers, investigations by the rural development and panchayat raj department have found. Officials in five village panchayats are responsible for the scam running into Rs 400 crore.
The investigation uncovered the falsification of Form 9 and Form 11(B), documents mandatory for registration of non-agricultural properties in village panchayats, to enable re-selling of the same site.
While Form 9 certifies that the site is located within the village, Form 11(B) is a register that determines who is responsible for payment of tax. Both forms are issued by the panchayat development officer (PDO) and gram panchayat secretary .
The forms have to be obtained by the sellers and furnished during property registration.
“This process has been blatantly violated in five gram panchayats in Bengaluru North Taluk. We had received 6510 complaints to this effect and the magnitude of the fraud is to the tune of over Rs 400 crore,“ rural development and panchayat raj (RDPR) minister HK Patil told reporters here on Thursday .
Most of the victims are working professionals and retired employees who bought `gramathana’ sites (residential plots in villages) in newly formed layouts in Arekere village panchayat, Marenahalli village panchayat, Bagalur village panchayat, Hessarghattta village panchayat and Hurulichikkanahalli village panchayat. “The land transaction was made to look genuine and the buyers had no doubts till they realized that there were other claimants for the same property ,“ Patil pointed out.
Explaining the modus op erandi, RDPR officials said: “Usually, the PDO will Issue Form 9 and Form 11(B) after making entry of the application in the register and processing it through the government’s E-Swathu portal.
But in these cases, the PDOs have colluded with land developers and issued the forms without making any official entries.
The developer, in turn, sold the properties and registered them with the sub-registrar. While the buyer believed he was the owner of the property , the developer clandestinely approached senior officials, including the tahsildar, and got Form 9 and Form 11(B) cancelled. The developer would go on to sell the same land to another buyer.
A committee headed by retired IAS officer R B Agwane, which probedthe scam, pointed to the involvement of the gram panchayat chair man, PDO, gram panchayat secretary , data entry operators and land developers.
Based on the committee’s report, the government has initiated action against 14 gram panchayat officials and ordered suspension of Bengaluru north talukexecutive officer S R Babu.
The government has also ordered for staying issuance of Form 9 and Form 11(B) in the five gram panchayats till the probe is completed.