Police probe major land scam in Tamil Nadu

May 7th, 2008 - 11:49 pm ICT by admin  

Villupuram (Tamil Nadu), May 7 (IANS) The Tamil Nadu police Wednesday launched investigations into an alleged land scam involving at least Rs.90 million following charges of fraud in ownership documents of 300 acres of land. The police have taken the matter seriously and launched an enquiry, district superintendent of police A. Amalraj told IANS.

“We have formed a few teams and are investigating how serious the fraud is, or whether the brokers concerned have cheated the buyers from New Delhi as well,” Amalraj said.

Situated some 180 km south of state capital Chennai, this town’s hinterland is agog with rumours of land sharks gobbling up thousands of acres of their real estate, residents here said.

“We discovered the perfidy a fortnight ago when my neighbour K. Amudha attempted to pay taxes for her 2.5 acres of land and discovered to her horror that it had been ’sold’ to a real estate firm based in New Delhi. I know of over 40 neighbours who have also lost their property,” said R. Ramanathan, 46, whose land too was similarly sold off.

Amudha, 32, added: “When we cross-checked, we realised that real estate broker I. Mugilam of Tindivanam, to whom we had given a general power of attorney in 2006, misrepresented the facts, falsified documents, presented impostors from Kanchipuram district, and sold the properties for more than Rs.90 million and vanished without a trace.”

The buyer was a New Delhi-based company.

The whereabouts of Mugilam who brokered the deal were being traced, the police superintendent added.

When contacted by phone, the company, however, denied any wrongdoing. Some townsfolk kidnapped agricultural labourers working in the lands, managed to get a ransom of Rs.100,000 and were making blackmail threats, it said.

“We legally purchased around 300 acres paying at the rate of between Rs.40,000 to Rs.150,000 per acre over two years ago and have harvested organic crops twice. The dispute, if any, involves only 32 acres for which we have initiated legal action,” a person who identified himself as an executive of the company told IANS from Chennai.

“Some locals are threatening us. Mugilam, to our knowledge, was an employee of brokers Kalidas of Tindivanam, Venkataraman and Chandrasekhar of Neyveli. We do not know their whereabouts, but our men were recently kidnapped and held captive by locals in Tindivanam, who obviously wanted to make a fast buck,” the company executive said.

“We paid a ransom of Rs.100,000 and have initiated legal action. Further, we have filed first information reports (FIRs) against all those who may have cheated us,” he added.

According to the company’s website, it trades in food grain, imports metal scrap and exports mineral ores.

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