Land frauds in Bengaluru have left real-estate investors worried. They are scared to take legal action against companies that duped them after receiving money for land.
Padmavathi (name changed), a homemaker who was cheated by a real-estate company,informed The Observer: “I paid a total of Rs 10 lakh three years back. I was told we would receive our land documents in a week. But after a few days, both the company officials and the broker stopped answering our calls. We even went to their office at Majestic many times, but the owner was always unavailable.”
Raj Kumar (name changed) said: “We approached a real estate company through a broker we know. We paid around Rs 15 lakh to the company. But after a few days, they stopped answering our calls. The receptionist at the company gave us different explanations about their boss’ absence from the office.We are scared to approach them legally because we don’t know the consequences.”
Members of two families who refused to be named said they paid Rs 5 lakh as the first instalment for land a couple of years ago, but still haven’t received their documents.
The real-estate company named by people allegedly duped by it did not respond to calls from The Observer.
As per the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, 88,864 complaints against realty companies were disposed of across the country till April 9, 2022. In Karnataka, 4,976 cases were registered and 3,218 resolved.
Agents say taking legal advice and personal verification can prevent investors from being defrauded.
Mohammad Abdul Rasheed, a real-estate agent and MD of Future Plus Infra Projects in Shivajinagar, said: “There are various options for investors in buying land or a house. In general, these companies offer discounts of 20% to 50%…. People commit mistakes there.”
Buyers do not readdetails of the agreement and are cheated, he added.
“There are legal and illegal companies. It depends on whom we approach. Most people avoid proceeding legally as they are also involved in the agreement.… If the market price falls, projects stop, resulting in companies breaking their promises.”
There has been a demand for a law to protect the interests of buyers.
Following many complaints by investors, the Karnataka government established a Real Estate Regulatory Authority for speedy resolution of disputes in the real-estate sector. RERA was established in 2017.
Hemanth Ram Kumar T, an advocate in a civil court, informed The Observer: “There are two ways in which an investor can handle such cases: Civil and criminal. If the investor wishes to take a legal action against the company, he should file a case under special performance of contract…. People should consult an advocate before buying land instead of contacting companies through middlemen. Payment should only be made by cheque. The company must issue a receipt to the investor. Many people who have been conned refrain from registering a case fearing the police, courts and private companies.”
An article published by The Times of India said the Karnataka High Court has ruled on a complaint by Latha Manjar that any individual who is affected by forgery or cheating can file a criminal complaint in a civil or criminal court.