While there is a general complaint from the common man that banks in Goa are hesitant to give loans, certain sectors are favoured by the banks. The real estate business is one where the banks are quite willing to advance money and at times without even verifying the documents as was discovered by some with regards to two properties at Alto Porvorim, in the village panchayat of Salvador do Mundo, which is today considered to be a gold mine. Goa Chronicle.com brings you the account of how the bank did not follow the laid down rules and is now harassing the original owners of the land.
Two properties Survey No. 161/1 and Survey No. 162/1 of village Salvador do Mundo have been mortgaged with various banks with the help of fraudulent documents in order to obtain loans or as surety for loans obtained. And while many banks have dropped their recovery proceedings the Mapusa Urban Co-operative Bank is not only harassing the actual owners of the land but also trying to coerce them into selling their property to real estate brokers recommended by them.
The Form I & XIV of these two properties were manipulated to make it appear that they belong to only one person somewhere in late nineties. While who did the manipulation is not known, the manipulated forms were used by one Rudolfo Crasto to secure loans by mortgaging them to different banks. A fraudulent Deed of Sale dated 11th March 1995 whereby Ana Severina Pereira has purportedly sold the property under Survey No. 162/1 admeasuring 14,100 square metres to Rudolfo Crasto has also been used. That this Deed of Sale is fraudulent is proven by the fact that the office of the Sub-Registrar has issued a certificate that such a deed is not registered in his office.
While the number of banks defrauded is not yet known, the Goa State Co-operative Bank suspended three of its staff members for clearing the documents without verifying them and one of the suspended employee has reportedly confessed that she was paid Rs. 10,000 to approve the papers.
The two properties were offered as surety for a loan of Rs. 3,47,000 taken by Spring Mineral Water Trading Co. where Rudolfo Crasto, his friend Diogo Fernandes and Ana Severina Pereira, who is shown as the owner of the land in the fraudulent Form I & XIV, stood as surety for the loan.
Ana Severina Pereira, has subsequently written to the bank that she has no business or social links with Rudolfo Crasto and/or Diogo Fernandes following which the bank conducted its own investigations.
The Bank of India, Patto branch which was defrauded to the tune of Rs. 56 lakhs by Rudolfo and two other persons by using the same documents, has lodged a complaint with the police, who unfortunately are dragging their feet with the investigations.
The Mapusa Urban Co-operative Bank on the other hand is refusing to acknowledge the mistake on the part of its officials and is now harassing the original owners by publishing notices in the newspaper of attachment and taking possession of the properties.
In fact, the scam came to light on 4th November 2003 when Mapusa Urban Co-operative Bank published a notice in the Navhind Times of attaching the two properties for failure to pay back the loan taken by offering them as surety.
The other owners of the property protested and present their title documents which clearly indicated that the documents submitted to the bank were fraudulent.
The advocate who gave the title search report to the bank, revealed that then MLA Isidore Fernandes along with the then Talathi of Bardez and the party seeking the loan called on him at 10:30 in the night with the papers for the title search report and as the Talathi was present, he presumed that the documents were authentic.
Following the objections raised by the other co-owners, the matter was presumably laid to rest as was done by some other banks like the Goa State Co-operative Bank Ltd.
However, the ghost came to haunt the original owners on 14th October 2010 when the Mapusa Urban Co-operative Bank published yet another notice claiming to have taken possession of the properties even though the possession still remains with the other owners, who have since put up a barbed wire fencing around the properties.
As the Mapusa Urban Co-operative Bank claimed to have taken possession of the property, one of the co-owners, heirs of Dr. Jose Francisco Martins, who are contesting a tenancy case in the Mamlatdar’s court, made the bank a party.
While deposing before the Mamlatdar, the recovery officer of the bank claimed to have taken possession of the properties from Ana Severina Pereira but was totally stupefied when it was pointed out that Ana Severina Pereira had died on 1st January 2005 and her death certificate was produced on record.
After it was proved that the person who purportedly gave possession of the land to the bank was not Ana Severina Pereira, the bank has appeared in the Mamlatdar’s court again and its officials changed their strategy to coerce the other co-owners to sell their land.
One co-owner Dr. Meenacshi Martins revealed that the bank sent a broker to her who asked her to convince the other co-owners to sell their shares and offered to purchase the property for hundreds of rupees per square metre even though the market rate is in thousands of rupees.
Meanwhile, in order to appeal against the bank, some of the co-owners visited the Debt Recovery Tribunal – III in Mumbai and were shocked to find out that the Mapusa Urban Co-operative Bank has not filed any proceedings before it. The owners then noticed that the bank in its notices published in the newspapers was not giving the Debt Recovery Tribunal allotted number to the case but publishing its own number.
While the Mapusa Urban Co-operative Bank apparently has taken a stand that the documents submitted to it are authentic, it is the owners who are being harassed as they have to fight the bank’s attempts to grab possession of the land for which they apparently have buyers given the fact that it lies in Porvorim which is considered to be a gold mine.
The other owners who are following up the criminal complaint lodged by Bank of India were shocked to note that the investigating officer is in constant touch with the former chairman of Mapusa Urban Co-operative Bank Ramakant Khalap and sometimes calls him up even in their presence.