Bengaluru Police have busted a real estate racket run by a three-member gang who pretended to be owners of the properties they had rented and then leased them out to others.
The trio, identified as Manohar Nenavath, his wife Sheetal Manohar and Ranjan Davamani, generated Rs 7.5 crore through such fraudulent means over the last few years.
Hundreds of Bengalurians duped
According to the police, the three accused tricked people into believing that they run a property management firm in Bengaluru and leased out more than 100 flats in and around HRBR Layout, which they had taken on rent.
They invested the money received in form of the lease amount in a construction project and paid landlords from the profits generated thereof. While the gang collected a massive sum of Rs 7.5 crore from the lessees, they were paying a total of Rs 10 lakh as monthly rent to owners.
"There are a lot of gangs in Bengaluru who claim to be owners or agents of flats and houses and lease them out. They invest the cash in some other businesses and pay rent to landlords, while in some cases, they run away with the money," the police was quoted as saying.
A case has been registered under IPC sections 406 for breach of trust and 420 for cheating.
COVID-19 pandemic brought the scam to fore
The notorious trio ran into trouble when the construction project they had invested in was stalled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. As a result, they could not pay the monthly rent to owners of properties, who then came in contact with the lessees and the long-running fraud was brought to light.
Recounting his ordeal, Kiran Kumar K, who leased an apartment in HRBR Layout, revealed that he approached Ranjan after coming across an advertisement on OLX in October 2018. Soon, he entered a three-year lease agreement with the gang for Rs 17 lakh.
However, when the trio stopped paying rent in June this year, Kiran was contacted by the real owner of that flat. Subsequently, he and 41 other victims filed complaints with the Banaswadi Police, leading to the arrest of Ranjan and his fellow gang members.