The officers are facing serious charges of flouting rules pertaining to property registration.
They were to verify the authenticity of Form 9 and Form 11 (e-khata and tax demand register, respectively, for non-agriculture properties located in rural areas) with the help of e-swathu software, before registration. But the sub-registrars seem to have had turned a blind eye.
As a result, scores of properties are said to have been registered without any verification, including cases involving fake documents.
Shockingly, these officials continue to function in their posts, as the government has been dragging its feet on taking action. The Department of Stamps and Registration had recommended transferring the sub-registrars to ensure a fair probe, but the government has remained silent on this. Only recently did the Revenue Department order a departmental enquiry against each of these officials. The move comes more than three years after the irregularities came to light.
The 31 sub-registrars, along with some first and second division assistants, figure in a list of 41 officials who will individually face an inquiry at the hands of retired district judge M G Hiremath, according to the government order, a copy of which is with DH.
The probe has been ordered into illegal registration of properties between July 2014 and May 2015. In June 2013, the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) Department made it mandatory for digitised extracts of Forms 9 and 11 to be produced during registration of properties under gram panchayat limits.This was done expressly to prevent mushrooming of illegal layouts.
Further, in July 2014, the government issued an order that the sub-registrars should allow registration only after verifying property details, especially Form 9 and 11 in e-swathu software. This was not done.
“The exact extent of irregularities will be known after charge sheets are prepared for each official,” said Manoj Kumar Meena, inspector-general of registration and commissioner of stamps.
The 31 sub-registrars facing inquiry include those at Banashankari, Chamarajpet, Basavanagudi, Indiranagar and Gandhinagar among others. Only six sub-registrars responded to show-cause notices asking them to explain the irregularities, but their response was unsatisfactory.
While the government dragged its feet, two sub-registrars – S R Vasant Kumar (KR Puram) and T Gopalakrishna (Peenya) – retired two years ago.
“The flip side is that these sub-registrars want this departmental inquiry. After all, they may get away with some increment cuts. They want to stay on in the same post,” a senior stamps and registration official said.
“Also, suspending them will hit property registrations due to staff crunch.”
It was in March 2016 that Hiremath was appointed to probe the irregularities. In June that year, Hiremath requested the government for an order allowing him to conduct a separate inquiry for each official. The government took 11 months to pass the order.
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