33 Singaporeans cry foul over Chennai land deals

Investors are crying foul at Singapore-registered KMGM International which sold them the land.

Published: 12th June 2016 09:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th June 2016 09:59 AM   |  A+A-


SINGAPORE: Thirty-three Singaporeans of Indian origin are crying foul over SGD 780,000 investment in undeveloped land in Chennai, according to media reports.

The investors were drawn by visions of gleaming villas, upcoming infrastructure and returns of more than 100 per cent investment made between 2007 and 2011.

But now they are crying foul at Singapore-registered KMGM International which sold them the land. They own land of questionable value, which is hard to sell as it has not been developed and has hardly risen in value, reported The Sunday Times.

The investors want to sell the land back to KMGM.

About 20 of them staged a walk-in on May 5 to confront KMGM director S Gulam at the firm's premises here, demanding assurances that they could sell back their land.

Gulam was not there, but assured them by telephone that he would meet them on May 16. But, on May 13, the investors received letters saying that the matter would be handled through his lawyers at Advaitha Law Corporation, according to the Singapore weekly.

Advaitha director G B Vasudeven told The Sunday Times that his client was ready to obtain valuations for each of the investors' land parcels, but declined to disclose any further course of action.

He added that he has written to the 33 to say that if they try to enter KMGM's offices again, they will be reported to the police as trespassers.

20 investors have since gone on to make police reports against KMGM.

The group of 33 had bought 45 plots of land, each a few thousand sq ft in size, in Chennai.

Mostly in their 50s and 60s, the investors said they trusted KMGM because it is a Singaporean firm and its directors, lawyer R Kalamohan and Gulam, a former journalist, are well-regarded members of the Indian community.

Retired navy officer Anandam Thomas, 62, bought two plots of land for about SGD 41,470 in 2008.

"My father was from India, and I wanted a little piece of India for myself," he said.

After payment, he and the other buyers were flown to Chennai to see the land and receive their sale deeds.

Last year and in April this year, he went back on his own to check and found the land was still undeveloped and occupied by squatters.

He said after his attempts to sell the land back to KMGM failed, he decided to gather fellow investors in the same situation.

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