The crime branch of Assam police has made significant strides in the Guwahati land scam investigation, apprehending a total of eleven individuals. Among those arrested, seven are government employees, while the remaining four include three land brokers and the injured land mafia kingpin, Ramen Madahi.
Uncovering the Guwahati Land Scam Nexus
The cyber cell of the city police has registered a case (No 12/23) under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the IT Act. The investigation has exposed the intricate connections between land mafias, lawyers, and government officials in the Sub Registrar’s office and the circle office. These connections facilitate the creation of fake land sale deeds for the illegal acquisition of land in Guwahati.
Loopholes in DC Office and the Rise in Land-Grabbing Cases
The loopholes in the mechanism at the Deputy Commissioner’s (DC) office have contributed to the surge in land-grabbing cases in Guwahati. Land mafias exploit these gaps in collaboration with lawyers, government officials, and other entities involved in land transactions. The fraudulent sale deeds are then used to seize vacant land in the city.
Commissioner’s Perspective and Further Investigations
Guwahati Police Commissioner Diganta Barah emphasizes that the current arrests are just the beginning of the investigation. He asserts that many officials from the sub-registrar office, circle office, land mafias, and lawyers are implicated, and additional arrests are anticipated as the inquiry progresses.
The land-grabbing gangs employ a systematic modus operandi. They collaborate with land brokers, sub-registrar office officials, and advocates to create fake sale deeds between two parties. These deeds are then presented as registered transactions from pre-1998, the period before the digitization of the process. The fake deeds are surreptitiously entered into the official Volume Register, which contains records of legitimate sale deeds.
To legitimize the forged sale deeds, the gangs report them as lost to local police stations. Subsequently, they apply for certified copies of the fake sale deeds, which, having been entered into the Volume Register, gain legal validity. With these certified copies, the gangs apply for mutations in their names at the revenue circle office, often with the complicity of employees within the revenue office nexus.
Challenges Faced by the Police
The police encounter challenges in land grabbing cases as both parties possess seemingly legitimate documents. This complexity often leads to confusion during investigations, necessitating court intervention to determine the rightful ownership of the contested land.