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Friday, January 28, 2011

Bunty aur babli, Single property and eight home loans

As many as eight banks have put up notices, fixed various seals and pasted announcements that the property has been mortgaged to them. The owners, Dinesh Reddy and his wife Kalarani, who took all these banks for a ride, are absconding. The eight banks are now tied up in a knot and are struggling to find a solution to the imbroglio.

The couple had taken loans of approximately Rs 25 lakh from each of the eight banks - Canara Bank, Syndicate Bank (Jayanagar III Block), GIC Housing Finance, State Bank of Mysore (JP Nagar), UCO Bank (Banashankari), State Bank of Travancore (Girinagar), State Bank of India (Chamarajpet) and Corporation Bank (Jayanagar III Block). A notice pasted on the house, built on a 30x40 site, claims the couple owe the UCO Bank Rs 26.52 lakh, Canara Bank Rs 26.19 lakh and SBM Rs 26 lakh.

The property is estimated to be worth only around Rs 80 lakh at current prices, if it gets sold. But the loans add up to over Rs 2 crore. A neighbour said: “Construction of the house started in 2003, but we had very little knowledge about the owners.”

“Construction is now complete, but the house is vacant. One day, people from a bank came with a ladder and a paint brush and painted their mortgage announcement and notice and left. That started a procession and every other day, some bank official or the other comes and pastes or paints similar announcements. It is a matter of great amusement for people staying around here.”

One of the banks has now posted a security guard outside the house.

An official of the Corporation Bank said, “It is an old cheating case. He (Reddy) took a housing loan from our bank seven years ago. He had submitted original documents with us. He submitted color photocopies of the same documents to other banks and cheated them. Our common agenda now is to recover the dues, but the case is complicated because the owner is absconding and the banks are unable to reach a consensus on what should be done. But all of us are under pressure to recover the money.”


In 2007, one of the banks proceeded to auction off the property, but it was stalled by the other banks. An SBM official said, “Since so many banks are staking their claim, it is impossible for a single bank to auction the property. It is a confusing legal tangle and we have been trying for a long time to find a solution. The case is typical of how banks were routinely cheated a few years ago. These fraudsters used to operate in gangs. They would create fake documents and take loans from several banks for the same property. This is an exceptional case as eight banks are involved.”

An official from another bank did not rule out the connivance of bank officials as well.

“Prior to 2005, there was no unified loan processing cell,” the official said. “Banks processed loans individually so it was not easy to find out if another bank had already provided a loan on the same property. Some people took advantage of the system. And if the property was of high value in the market, they took smaller loans so that the bank would not reject their applications. Hanky panky of bank officials cannot be ruled out either. Now this is not possible as banks have a common loan processing unit,” the official said.


It is common for people to assume property documents are in order if a housing loan has been taken on the property. But time and again people have had to pay for complacency. R Jagadish, a partner in Soundarya Constructions, says, “We purchased an old house in Guttahalli for development in 2005. There was a loan of Rs 25 lakh existing on the property from the Tumkur Grain Merchants Bank. When we were about the demolish the old building, we got a notice from Punjab National Bank stating that it was mortgaged to them as well for Rs 35 lakh. We had no option but to repay that loan. For a property worth Rs 25 lakh, we ended up paying Rs 60 lakh and in the bargain had a lot of heartburn as the process dragged on for over six months.’’


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