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Se­nior banker and for­mer chief gen­eral man­ager of the State Bank of In­dia, Bhaskar Niyogi, says that the onus is on the buyer to thor­oughly in­ves­ti­gate a project he or she plans to in­vest in, ex­cept in cases where the project has been ap­proved by banks.

“Ir­re­spec­tive of the fact that banks have to do the due dili­gence, the first touch point is be­tween the buyer and the builder. Just like bankers have cer­tain re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, so does the buyer. The prob­lem stems from the in­ad­e­qua­cies in the land records and the ease with which so-called du­pli­cates can be ob­tained, in­clud- ing ti­tle deeds. In such cases, the cul­pa­bil­ity of the land record per­son­nel, le­gal and re­lated func­tionar­ies can­not be ruled out. That does not mean that bank of­fi­cials are not re­spon­si­ble,” he adds

Niyogi, who is cur­rently head, con­sul­tant, risk at Rat­nakar Bank Ltd, says the prob­lem is also be­cause bankers de­pend to a large ex­tent on the le­gal ad­vice out­sourced to le­gal firms. “Banks should de­velop do­main ex­perts. This will hap­pen over time within the am­bit of banks’ poli­cies. The la­cu­nae can be re­moved once all land records are com­put­erised, like in Tamil Nadu,” he adds.


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