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Chandigarh: High Court takes note of land mafia activity on periphery

Chandigarh: High Court takes note of land mafia activity on periphery


Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh, April 17

In a significant development, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has taken note of deceptive tactics employed by the land mafias operating on the tricity’s periphery, where unsuspecting buyers are falling victim to insidious practices resulting in the loss of their hard-earned money.

Justice Pankaj Jain of the High Court has observed that central to the nefarious activity is the manipulation of documents, meticulously created and recreated, to portray the total area as larger than the actual dimensions. Motivated by aspirations of homeownership, the buyers go to the spot to construct the house only to find that the plot does not exist.

The observations by Justice Jain came on an anticipatory bail petition filed by an accused apprehending arrest in an FIR registered in October 2021 for cheating and criminal conspiracy under Sections 420 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code and the provisions of the Registration Act at Dera Bassi police station in Mohali district.

Justice Jain, in his detailed judgment, observed that the main accused in the case was “able to sell the whole area including that left for the roads”. Dismissing the plea, the Judge asserted there was nothing on record to show that the allegations levelled against the petitioners were motivated.

Quoting an apex court judgment in the case of “Pratibha Manchanda and another versus the State of Haryana and another”, Justice Jain observed exponential increase in the properties had led to a separate class of offence, wherein the scammers created fake land titles, forged sale deeds and manipulated land records to show false ownership, false possession and encumbrance-free status of the properties. Organised crime networks planned and executed the illegal activities resorting to intimidation and threats to force vulnerable individuals to vacate their properties.

Referring to the facts of the case, Justice Jain added the main accused in the case in hand was able to sell the “whole area”. It was a classic case which exhibited how the land mafias in the illegal colonies carved out on the tricity’s periphery were able to cheat innocent people of their hard-earned money after they purchased small plots to quench their lifelong thirst.

“On the strength of documents created and recreated, they are able to show total area more than what actually exists and thereafter, when the purchaser goes on the spot to construct his house, he finds that the plot does not exist,” Justice Jain observed.

What court observed

On the strength of documents created and recreated, they are able to show total area more than what actually exists. Thereafter, when the purchaser goes to the spot to construct his house, he finds that the plot does not exist — Justice Pankaj Jain

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