I am writing this on behalf of my father and other families who were victims of this scam and fought a long battle with the corrupt system to finally win justice – but only partially.
The incident happened a few years ago. My father had invested in a property in Greater Noida being constructed by a builder who had already constructed a few residential towers. The builder seemed efficient and my family would also go and visit the flat that was allotted to them whenever they could. In total, the sanctioned flats were about 140.
The money involved in the deal was more than Rs. 25 lakhs. Here, I am talking about hundreds of middle-class families who save for years to finally invest in a property and for such families 25 lakhs is a huge amount.
Eventually, we realised that the builder had led a huge scam. He had sold one single flat to four to five people. So, on every such flat he made a profit of about a crore. All this money was taken from families who had probably invested all their savings in that property only to realise later they had been duped. Naturally, the people demanded their money to be returned, which obviously is the last thing a builder with such wit would do.
Imagine the plight of the families – you save your entire life to finally buy your own house and when you give away all that money, you realise that the shelter that you were dreaming of and invested your savings in will never be a reality.
After a long struggle of dealing with corrupt police officials, delays in court hearings and other processes, the builders did get their sentence – but that is not justice served. The victims wanted the nation to know about such a scam and the suffering of the ones involved. A few of them had contacts in different media houses so they started pulling strings but they only faced blatant refusal to cover the event. Big media houses were approached and none of them seemed interested. One outrightly refused saying it did not sound “interesting”. Most others showed little interest and just kept delaying it. One of them even demanded money to cover the news. Yes, they demanded money, being fully aware of the condition of the people.
The intriguing side of the story, however, is that there were officials involved from a well-known housing finance agency who sanctioned loans to enable people buy property in the same building and were likely fully aware of the entire scam. These officials are still working in the same agency, probably fearless of anything now as they managed to get away with such a huge scam. No action has been taken against these officials who were probably equal partners in the crime.
But, anyhow, the media wonders why the nation would want to know about such incidents which hit ordinary people hard and doesn’t want to make them aware about such malpractices. There are more interesting stories to cover which will probably have the audience hooked on to the television.
I am writing this because I have seen my father struggle hard and fight and finally get tired and give up. There was no other platform that was ready to publish the story. I ardently hope this catches the attention of someone who might be willing to probe into the story so that there is some pressure on the guilty officers as well. Only then will we be able to say that the legal system and media have done justice to the citizens.
Featured image for representation only. Credit: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint via Getty Images.