Biggest-ever property ‘scam’ in Assam
GUWAHATI, July 11: What’s wrong with the Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Kamrup (M)? Don’t be surprised if the DC office cannot provide you with copies of the original deeds of your property, including landed property, when sought. Something is seriously wrong with the office as the whereabouts of as many as 1,81,489 original property deeds are in question. Maybe, this is the biggest-ever property deed scam in the State. The scam took place between 2010 and 2012, and the deeds in questions are of the period from 1999 to 2009.
As facts get unfolded now, in 2010 an agreement was signed between the then Deputy Commissioner, Kamrup (M) and M/S Web.com (India) Pvt Ltd for digitization of old registered deeds. The hard copies of the old register deeds were handed over to the private company for scanning and digitization. According to Sr. Sub-Registrar of Kamrup(M) Nirhandra Thaosen, who made an affidavit before the notary, the agreement between the then deputy commissioner and the private company was signed on June 18, 2010. The affidavit further says that a total of 1,81,489 old registered deeds of the period from 1999 to 2009 were scanned by M/s Web.com (India) Pvt Ltd for digitization. The private company, according to the affidavit, handed over the said deeds to the office of the Sr. Sub-Register, Kamrup (M). However, it has come to light now that the original hard copies of several such registered deeds were missing after the scanning and digitization work. It is alleged that some of the sale deeds were not scanned and digitized even though the e-registration period is over. To top it all, there is yet another allegation that in some cases neither original hard copies of the sale deeds are available, nor have they been scanned and digitized. This came to light when a number of people had to return empty-handed after seeking copies of their original sale deeds from the DC office.
The then Deputy Registrar, Guwahati reported to the then ADC in-charge of registration after an inquiry on November 16, 2016: “…it is a matter of great regret that no proper records and registers were maintained by the then registering officers regarding handing over to Web.com for scanning and taking over after completion of scanning of registered deeds for the said period. It is also found that many of the documents went missing/damaged and many of the documents have not been uploaded which are not found and misplacing the deeds. It is also seen that some pages of the documents are not found.” After the report on the missing deeds from the then Deputy Registrar, the Deputy Registrar, Kamrup (M) filed an FIR at Panbazar Police Station on December 5, 2016.
The 1,81,489 registered deeds handed over to the private company by the DC office are – 12,144 of 1999; 20,763 of 2008; 12,996 of 2000; 14,263 of 2001; 13,954 of 2002; 15,967 of 2003; 17,585 of 2004; 22,281 of 2005; 21,653 of 2006; 24,156 of 2007; 3,311 of 2009 and 2,466 mixed deeds.
Such anomalies came to light in 2016 when activist Utpal Das sought a copy of the original sale deed of deed No. 5031 issued on June 5, 2003. Das is yet to get the copy.
When this reporter contacted M/s Web.com (India) Pvt Ltd, some of its officials said: “We did the job of scanning, uploading and digitization of the property deeds in a room in the DC office under their supervision. We were handed over the deeds on a daily basis and they took them back from us daily. In front of them, we uploaded all the deeds in NIC servers. We did submit our bills monthly, and they cleared the bill after verification. Had we not completed the job, how could we get the bills cleared?”