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Aug 2, 2008

Real Estate Boom Vs White Collar Crimes

Boom in real estate business has opened up yet another avenue for white collar crimes.The District Crime Branch and City Crime Branch have of late been receiving complaints about fraudulent practices in real estate transactions. City Crime Branch police recently received two such cases. In the event of the crime being absolutely civil in nature, the aggrieved parties approached the court for directions to the police to register a case and investigate.

Earlier, people dealt with real estate part time.Thanks to the boom in economy, revival of industries and increasing affordability of the people, real estate had been on an upward trend with people taking to real estate as a full time business.More and more persons were getting into real estate business since it was an avenue for easy and quick money making without toiling.On successfully mediating a transaction, the real estate agents get a commission of one to five per cent of the transaction value from both the buyer as well as the seller.


Police officers pointed out that major areas of white collar crimes in real estate business that had so far come to light were in respect of sale of properties earmarked for acquisition, reserve sites and misuse of power attorney, breach of trust violating sale agreements and taking possession of properties through forged will.Cautioning people on the safeguards to be taken before handing over cash for buying a property, police officers pointed out that owner of the property or those possessing a power of attorney for the property used to enter into sale agreements and violating the same they used to take advance from more than one person for the same property.


Since, sale agreements were not registered, encumbrance certificate obtained from the Registration Department will not be throwing any light on the likelihood of the commitment given by the seller to more than one person.Similarly, people also resort to sale of sites marked as reserve sites or sell layouts on lands that were notified for acquisition.Another trend was henchmen resorting to illegal arbitrations, intimidating and coercing the owner of a prime property to sell it off at a throw away price or guideline value. Often such gangs operated with political background.


In certain cases, legal heirs settled abroad with jobs in Information Technology industry on their return to the country after a decade or so their properties having been taken possession of by someone with a forged will or the other legal heirs refusing to part with a share that the complainant was entitled to. Indian Penal Code provisions such as 420 (cheating), 120 B (conspiracy to cheat), 406 (Criminal Breach of Trust) and provisions for punishing criminal trespass into a property such as sections 447 to 457, sections 467 to 471 (dealing with offences such as forgery, forging for the purpose of cheating and using a forged document as genuine) could be invoked against the offender.

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