BENGALURU: Last Thursday, Avinash Prabhu, the managing director of Skyline Construction and Housing Private Ltd, was arrested by City Crime Branch (CCB) for allegedly cheating hundreds of house buyers in Bengaluru and Mangaluru of around Rs 100 crore. Prabhu, who owns 11 Kalmane Koffee outlets in the city, among several other businesses, was arrested post a raid at his plush apartment on Lavelle Road. This, however, is one of the many cases of cheating that occur in the city. Bengaluru has already seen 49 cases of cheating in the first six days of the year.
According to City’s Crime Record Bureau (CCRB), there has been a slight decrease in the number of such cases, from 3,301 in 2016 to 3,000 in 2018. However, senior officials state that there has been an increase in the number of victims, and based on cases observed by police officials, one gets better insight of the situation at hand.
Deputy commissioner of police (crime), Girish S, said those who invest in land or apartments fall prey to the most common form of cheating. “The builder shows investors a piece of land and collects 50-80 per cent of the cost from them, only to eventually abandon them,” he explained .
Farmers and builder often collude together to dupe investors, wherein builders take the land of around 20 farmers and set the layout to make it an attractive offer for the investors. “Once investors deposit money, the farmers deliberately file a petty case against them, forcing the work to be stopped. Thus, the perpetrators enjoy the money along with the interest they receive,” Girish said.
Money lenders too have been accused of cheating people, especially by debtors who pledge their land to the lender, along with some monthly interest. Lenders use blank papers to get the documents signed and stamped. After a year or so, if the debtor delays his payment, the lender then uses the signed blank papers to transfer the pledged land to their name. The harassment doesn’t end there as they then go to court to request the debtor to leave the property.
“Other cases include the same land being sold to two or more people but with different survey numbers. These kinds of cheating cases can be seen at Airport road, Devanahalli and so on. Local police are also helpless since the case goes to the court under a civil dispute,” Girish added.