OTP verification for property registration in Karnataka

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Starting November, one-time password (OTP)-based verification will be mandatory for all property registrations in the state.

The initiative is aimed at preventing impersonation and other irregularities during property registration. The move also comes in the wake of the Kaveri software, which holds the property records database, being hacked.

Apart from OTP, uploading scanned copies of supporting documents of a property being registered will also be mandatory. These measures are expected to strengthen the online system and prevent the tampering of software in the future.

Speaking to DH, Inspector-General of Registration and Commissioner of Stamps K V Thrilok Chandra said the OTP system was introduced on a trial basis in Shivamogga district around 10 days ago. "We have decided to extend the system to sub-registrar offices in all districts. The new system is expected to be operational across the state from the first week of November," he said.

Under the system, both the buyer and seller will be sent an OTP to be used for property registration and related activities. When the system is introduced, the department expects to send 25,000-30,000 SMSes per day as it registers around 10,000 properties on average in the state.

The recent fraud, according to Chandra, was detected only due to the features of Kaveri software. "We had installed a data-change alert system in Kaveri which helped us detect the case in which a few sub-registrars used a loophole in the system to alter land records," he said.

While plugging such irregularities, measures such as compulsorily uploading documents related to a property will help prevent bogus registrations. Similarly, the OTP feature will ensure double verification and is expected to reduce the number of impersonation complaints, he explained.

Detected in December 18

Fraudulent changes of property documents using Kaveri software was first flagged on December 7, 2018. Since then, the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) — which developed the software — has been strengthening the back-end of the software. While the department looked for people behind such irregularities, data-change alert system helped in detecting other alterations made in sub-registrar offices using the same modus operandi, he said.

After an in-house investigation regarding changes to 300 documents — a majority in Bengaluru, and few in Mysuru and North Karnataka — the case was handed over to cyber crime sleuths who are currently investigating the case.

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