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Delhi tops list for property fraud cases

July 07, 2014 14:34 IST

Delhi tops list for property fraud cases

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Delhi tops the list in terms of cases related to property fraud and misappropriation among all states and union territories in the country, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

The total number of cases reported in sections of property lost under criminal breach of trust and cheating during 2013 was 181, the highest in the country, the report says.

While eight cases among them were of criminal breach of trust, 173 cases were of cheating.

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Delhi was closely followed by Maharashtra with 176 cases, while Punjab came third with 82.

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Delhi Police which investigates financial crimes also says that there has been a spurt in such cases.

"Around 30 per cent of all the cases which are reported to us are related to real estate," Joint Commissioner of Police (EOW) Satish Golcha told PTI.

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Selling mortgaged property to multiple buyers or on fudged papers have been the typical methods, but now people are coming up with unique ways to con investors these days, police said.

"In a recent case, a real estate firm in its promotional documents used projects executed by some other entity to gain investors' trust," said a senior police official.

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An FIR was lodged by one Surrinder Kumar Bangla, a former Assistant General Manager at SBI, against the promoters of Cosmic Structures Ltd at Janakpuri Police Station of West Delhi under provisions like Sections 420 (cheating), 120B (criminal conspiracy), etc.

Bangla allegedly paid Rs 70,000 and booked a virtual space in an upcoming tower in Noida of Cosmic Structures Ltd after its promoters provided him with a list of projects they claimed to have developed, constructed and delivered across the country.

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"However, Bangla later came to know that the projects Cosmic Structures Ltd was boasting off were actually of Quality Constructions and he demanded a refund. He later approached court and got an FIR registered. Police is investigating the case," said the official.

Meanwhile, the owner of Quality Constructions, Rajesh Lamba, who is the brother of late cricketer Raman Lamba, approached Delhi High Court requesting it to restrain Cosmic Structures Ltd from using his name for their promotion.

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The ruling as sought was granted to Lamba by the court in an order on April 3. He has also filed a case in this regard at EOW and it currently is under investigation.

To be safe from property-related fraud, police advice people to be extra cautious during real estate transactions and carry out a thorough background check.

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"Verify all the documents and other antecedents of the property that you are going to buy. Try not to make cash transactions. If you have to do that, then take proper cash receipts and other documentary evidence. Cheque transactions are advisable," Golcha said.

According to another senior police official, a major issue in such cases is that the offenders are not scared of serious legal repercussions.

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Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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"If one man commits a fraud with 50 investors may be 10 or 15 of them will file an FIR or approach court. So even if he is cornered in a couple of cases, that too after years of legal battle, he can approach the complainant for out of court settlement. Complainants in most cases agree thinking it to be good riddance," the official said.

"So out of 50 investors, he had to pay back only to three to four of them and that too after many years. This is a good deal for him. Unless that changes, a strong deterrent is created and such fraudsters face tough legal action, things cannot change, he added.

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