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Aug 11, 2009, 12.04 PM IST | Source: CNBC-TV18

Orange Properties scam: Bangalore victims await justice

Hundreds of people in Bangalore duped by real estate deals are queuing up for justice. The cases are being probed by the city's crime branch now, reports CNBC-TV18’s Deepa Balakrishnan.

Orange Properties scam: Bangalore victims await justice

Hundreds of people in Bangalore duped by real estate deals are queuing up for justice. The victims allege cheating by the Orange Properties' Group, which offered lucrative low-cost housing deals early this year, the promoters of which disappeared after taking the initial installments from buyers. The cases are being probed by the city's crime branch now, reports CNBC-TV18’s Deepa Balakrishnan.

Here is a verbatim transcript of Deepa Balakrishnan’s comments on CNBC-TV18. Also watch the accompanying video.

After six years in Bangalore, logistics manager KB Shivakumar decided Orange Properties Granity European Township, would be his dream home address. He borrowed from family, took loans and one year later, his dream is over.

“My wife had taken a bank loan for Rs 2 lakh for which we're paying Rs 8,000 from August with monthly interest,” Shivakumar says.

A fancy, modern name and this ad blitz attracted buyers by the hordes and owning low-cost land in one of India's fastest growing cities was too tempting. The promoters made it even more attractive — free cars for early birds, formally organized site visits and claimed municipal approvals would come in soon.

For Infotech professional Sudhakaran Iyani, this was enough temptation to invest all the money he had earned by selling off their flat in Mumbai and settle in Bangalore.

“We were convinced if someone can spend so much on advertisement, there can't be any hanky panky,” Iyani said.

Retired military engineer SV Ramamurthy even persuaded his NRI son-in-law to invest. “There are many victims in various projects, not only in European township. They've launched unabated with various displays without any fear whatsoever of law authorities,” Ramamurthy says.

Ever since the cases were transferred to the crime branch, there's been a continuous stream of victims. At last count, there were 294 complaints of cheating to the tune of Rs 11 crore but investors say that's just the tip of the ice-berg — it could go up to Rs 70 crore.

Though the police have now registered 20 FIRs on the basis of complaints, the follow-up appears sluggish. Only one section, the IPC — under cheating — has been used and no serious efforts have been made to move forward with criminal proceedings. The builders' lawyers have meanwhile moved quickly to approach the court asking for quashing the FIRs.

Alok Kumar, Joint Commissioner – Crime, said, “We've told them specifically that they should repay the amount with a crossed demand draft, account-payee demand draft so that there is no question of cheque bounce.”

This is a statement, which doesn't explain why the accused should not face criminal proceedings as well.

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