Title : Looking into NRK demands, says Karnataka State Home Minister Mr. K J George
Article Date : 26/May/2014
Manish S, a techie from the city who moved to Singapore a few years ago, decided to invest his savings back home. With the real estate market booming, land seemed the perfect choice. Together with three friends who also pooled in funds, Manish sank over Rs 70 lakh in a 1.5 acre plot in Chikkaballapur. It was to be a sort of pension for his years after retirement.
However, months after the `deal’ was completed, Manish learnt that he and his friends had been taken for a ride. The real estate agency through which the `deal’ was sealed had furnished Manish and his friends with fake documents. Their title to the land wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on. But they were faced with an agonising problem: How to bring the real estate agency to book?
Taking leave to fight a possibly protracted legal battle wasn’t an option; nor was returning home, since they have work commitments. The four have now appealed to the Karnataka NRI Forum for help.
The forum claims they have been flooded with similar requests from non-resident Kannadigas (NRK). In a market that is already riskier than mutual funds, NRKs, because of their absence from the scene, end up being easy prey for land sharks and fraudulent real estate agents. NRKs have now banded together and are demanding a special police cell to tackle their unique problems. Forum officials say the home ministry is considering their request to set up a special cell on the lines of those in Punjab and Kerala.
Like Manish, Usha Rathnam, who lives in New Jersey with her husband, a software engineer, had purchased a 40x60ft site in Konanakunte. Their joy only lasted till they arrived in Bangalore a few months after they made their purchase. A local politician had taken over their plot, claiming it to be his own.
“We have received several written as well as oral complaints from NRKs on land grabbing, cheating and other related problems,“ V C Prakash, deputy chairman of the forum, told Bangalore Mirror. “Karnataka does not have a separate police cell or institution to address their grievances. I have personally taken up the matter with the home minister and officials in the police department. We have received a favourable response from them on opening a state-level committee.“
The forum wants the police department to conduct periodic reviews of cases pertaining to NRKs. They are demanding a facility like the one in Punjab where a state-level co-ordination committee and a helpline has been set up to address grievances of NRIs living abroad.
Home minister, KJ George, speaking to BM, said, “The issue has come to my attention. We are looking into the demand for a separate police cell. Earlier, there were several complaints about Joseph Chacko cheating NRIs.
We will look into all the issues.“
Chacko, a fraudulent realtor from the city, was arrested a few years ago on charges of cheating NRIs of Rs 500 crore.
Officials say some NRKs had given up their jobs abroad to wage a legal battle to reclaim their land. Vasudeva Murthy, a software engineer working in Sydney, is a typical example. He had bought land in Nelamangala, but influential people in the locality grabbed his land. Murthy returned home and had approached local police seeking their intervention. He had legal documents to prove title, but the police are yet to act on his complaint.