Karnataka police arrest Keralite for grabbing NRIs' land
The modus operandi of the land sharks is to identify vacant sites, forge documents and stake claim over the site by erecting temporary sheds.
Trivandrum: The long fight by non-resident Keralites (NRKs) against the Karnataka land mafia has started yielding result with the Bengaluru police arresting a Keralite who has grabbed 300 acres of land they bought in the city.
The CID wing of the police has nabbed George Varghese based on a complaint lodged by an association of the victims. Reports from Bengaluru said that the arrested had grabbed the land bought by the NRKs from one Joseph Chacko 25 years ago by forging documents and using intimidatory tactics.
The police have slapped forgery, cheating and threats charges against Varghese. The police have not been normally involving in land grab cases as the offence comes under civil disputes.
They acted in this case as the arrested had sent several threatening letters to the non-resident Keralites. The association had provided copies of the threatening letters to the police as evidence.
The modus operandi of the land sharks is to identify vacant sites, forge documents and stake claim over the site by erecting temporary sheds. When the original land owners question them, the mafia unleashes terror. In many cases, the original land owners either sell the land for meager price or pay 'protection' money to retain it.
A case in point is that of a US-based non-resident Indian, who had to shell out Rs600,000 to the land mafia for getting back the land he purchased at a prime locality in the city. He paid the amount as fighting the mafia is not easy from his foreign location.
There have been several such cases. The NRIs are not able to make use of legal channels as it takes a long time and requires their presence in the city. Taking advantage of this, the land mafia has been specially targeting the non-resident Indians.
Apart from the NRIs, many Keralites working in the city have also invested in real estate in the city in the wake of a real estate boom triggered by the IT revolution. Reports say the underworld operators turned towards real estate after the prices started soaring.