South Chennai is hub of property fraud in city
South Chennai accounts for the highest number of fake property registrations in Chennai zone, with forged Power of Attorney (PoA) topping the list of documents used for the scam. North Chennai is in second place followed by the southern suburbs falling under the Chengalpet district registrar’s office.
Data accessed by TOI shows that sub-registrar offices in South Chennai had recorded 500 fraudulent registrations over 20 years. A total of 165 petitions on fraudulent land registrations were reported in North Chennai, followed by 117 at Chengalpet, 73 at Kancheepuram and 66 in Central Chennai district registrar offices.
“PoAs make up the largest proportion of forged documents used in land registrations. Bogus legal heir certificates, fake pattas and forged identity cards are the other documents used for this purpose,” a senior registration official told TOI.
In one such case two months ago, the Central Crime Branch police registered an FIR, with the subregistrar of Madhavaram as an accused for creating a fake PoA to sell a plot worth ?4 crore by forging the identity card of a person born in the city, who currently lives in Australia.
Officials said sub-registrar offices in southern pockets of the city have always been on the radar for fraudulent registrations. “About three years ago, a popular layout promoter lodged a complaint that his housing plot falling under the Neelangarai sub-registrar office has been sold using a fake PoA. Further inquiries revealed that the plot was sold to a leading jewellery shop owner in the city, who told us that he was unaware of the forgery,” another registration official said. Housing plots in subregistrar offices under the ambit of Tiruporur sub-registrar office that have not recorded any transaction for a number of years are also vulnerable to such frauds, added the official.
Complaints on fraudulent registrations started pouring in at the registration department after district registrars were given the powers to cancel them in 2011.
However, the powers were withdrawn in 2017 in the wake of a Supreme Court order, which categorically asserted that only civil courts have the authority to declare such registrations null and void.
Later, the office of the inspector of registrations began a review of these complaints filed with the respective district registrars across nine zones in Tamil Nadu.
The Chennai zone comprises 64 sub-registrar offices located in different parts of Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts, which are functioning under north, central and south Chennai, besides Chengalpet and Kancheepuram district registrars.
“The menace of impersonation and fraudulent registration of properties will end only if Aadhaar is made mandatory,” a top registration official said. Last week, the state government notified the Tamil Nadu Registration (Identity Verification for the Registration of Documents) Rules, 2018 of the Registration Act, 1908, allowing authentication using Aadhaar details obtained from the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) with a rider that it should be with the consent of the individuals concerned.
Yogesh Kabirdoss, Economic Times, Chennai