Yet another alleged scam of corrupt officials has reportedly been busted in Karnataka. In a seemingly devious plot, politicians, builders and officers allegedly colluded to falsify documents and sold the same land located in five different gram panchayats to multiple buyers, making around Rs 400 crore, the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Departments has uncovered, Times of India reported.
Investigations revealed that Form 9 and Form 11(B) required for the reselling of non-agricultural properties was falsified, the report said.
While Form 9 certifies that a plot is located within said village and Form 11(B) is a register which ascertains the person(s) responsible for paying the tax.
Both forms are issued by gram the panchayat development officer (PDO) and the gram panchayat secretary, which the sellers have to obtain and furnish during the registration of the property.
"This process has been blatantly violated in five gram panchayats in Bengaluru North Taluk. We had received 6,510 complaints to this effect and the magnitude of the fraud is to the tune of over Rs 400 crore. The buyers had no clue that there were other claimants to the same property," rural development and panchayat raj (RDPR) minister HK Patil was quoted by TOI.
The victims are retired employees and working professionals who bought land in the newly formed layouts in Arekere, Marenahalli, Bagaluru, Hesaraghatta and Hurulichikkanahalli village panchayats, the reports said.
The Forms 9 and 11(B) are entered in the register and processed through the government's ESwathu portal. In these cases, the PDOs colluded with land developers and issued forms without making official entries. The developer, in turn, sold these properties and registered them with the sub-registrar. The developers then approached the tahsildar and got the forms cancelled, leaving the buyers to believe that they were property owners, Patil was quoted as saying by TOI.
The investigation, headed by IAS officer RB Agwane uncovered that the gram panchayat chairman, the PDO, gram panchayat secretary, data entry operators and land developers were involved in the scam, the report says.
The government has suspended the Taluk Executive Officer of Bengaluru North, SR Babu and initiated action against 14 gram panchayat officials. The state government has also stayed the issuance of the forms in question until the probe has been completed. A committee has been set up to suggest compensatory measures for the victims, the report stated.