Big shock: the online auction of the BDA corner sites has been rigged!
How bad can BDA’s corruption get? The answer is very very bad.
Watch this: The recent online corner site auction, which the BDA announced as very successful, was rigged. And the culprits were the planning agency’s own staff who colluded with crooks.
The scam runs in several crores and surfaced earlier this week. BDA Vigilance Wing filed a complaint with Seshadripuram Police on Wednesday.
The scam comes at a particularly difficult time for the state government which had pledged to cleanse the BDA of bad apples and has carried out widely publicized raids to catch the corrupt.
Looks like none of this has deterred the scammers.
The BDA has opted for the online auction of corner sites in several of its housing developments giving reasons such as Covid-19 restrictions, ensuring transparency, breaking the monopoly of middlemen and giving bidders a hotline with BDA officials.
The BDA had set up sites in eight auction housing layouts: Anjanapura, Arkavathi Layout, Banashankari, HBR Layout, JP Nagar, Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Layout, Nagarabhavi and Sir M Vishveswaraiah Layout. To participate in the auction, bidders had to log on to eproc.karnataka.gov.in, the state government’s public procurement portal.
The online auctions started between December 8 and 15 and ended between December 23 and 30.
The government had hoped the online auction would be so successful that it would also secure funds for Covid-19 relief work.
But the scammers had a head start. Backed by corrupt BDA staff, they broke into the “foolproof” system by producing bogus challans and bills of sale.
Here’s how the scam worked:
Pretending to be real buyers, the scammers participated in the auction, offered the best deals and succeeded in blocking sites in the 7th block of Vishveswaraiah Layout.
Later, in collusion with corrupt BDA employees, they produced duplicate challans of private banks to show the fictitious payment of the full bid price and obtain the deeds of sale on their behalf, an official said. BDA on condition of anonymity.
In some cases, scammers have changed the location of auction sites. For example, if Vishveswaraiah Layout 8th block sites were to be auctioned, the crooks changed the location to 7th block and also changed the site numbers.
The duplicate challans, files and bank codes were then submitted to BDA officials to show payment of the full bid price and have the sites registered in their name, another official said.
BDA Chairman and MP for Yelahanka, SR Vishwanath, who has pledged to root out corruption from the agency, confirmed the fraud. Talk to DH, he said he had asked the officials to file a complaint with the police about it and expose the culprits.
“We were shocked when we found out that scammers have been breaking into the surefire online action. They have deceived both the BDA and genuine buyers. Three such cases have come to my attention and an investigation internal is underway to determine the extent of the fraud,” he said. said and promised that the culprits would not be unscathed.
He continued: “We will ensure that the BDA does not lose these sites. We have alerted the Office of the Deputy Registrar and blocked the resale of these sites.”
A source said the three bogus bills of sale were from the 7th block and each site was worth Rs 2 crore.