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Madras High Court cautions people against falling prey to property manipulators

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Madras High Court cautions people against falling prey to property manipulators

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The Madras High Court has cautioned people against falling prey to middlemen who take valuable immovable properties on lease but end up selling or mortgaging them with the criminal intent of cheating both the property owners as well as gullible purchasers.

Justice A.D. Jagadish Chandira said, crimes of such nature were on the increase in and around Chennai due to lack of awareness among the people and therefore, it was incumbent upon the State to warn them by publicising the modus operandi adopted by the fradusters.

The judge, suo motu, impleaded the Director General of Police as one of the respondents in a bail cancellation petition related to a similar offence involving a valuable property and directed the officer to initiate all necessary steps required to prevent such incidents in future.

K. Kanagaraj, the petitioner, told the court that he was the owner of a house under Mogappair Eri Scheme in Chennai. Since it had five different portions, he had given it on lease to one V.R. Ramalingam who claimed to be in the business of renting out service apartments.

However, the lessee ended up mortgaging the property to a third party leading to the registration of a cheating case. Since the accused had succeeded in obtaining bail, the complainant had approached the court now for cancellation of the bail on the ground of misrepresentation of facts.

During the course of hearing, when the judge called for statistics of similar cases, the Government Advocate informed him that 40 such cases were pending before the Greater Chennai Police. As many as 67 victims had been affected in those cases and the amount involved in them was more than ₹7 crore.

Similarly, the Tambaram Police Commissionerate had booked nine cases in which 342 persons had been cheated to the tune of ₹13 crore and the Avadi Commissionerate had booked two cases in which 20 victims were cheated to the tune of ₹2 crore.

It was also brought to the notice of the court that the Economic Offences Wing too had booked four such cases in which 1,020 victims had been cheated to the tune of ₹41 crore and that the total amount involved in all the cases pending since 2013 was ₹65.58 crore.

Stating the figure would be much more if data from the adjoining Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts too were collected, the judge said, in most cases, the accused attempt to escape from the clutches of law by projecting the case to be of civil in nature.

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