The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) has assigned a team to track down racketeers behind illegal house or land transactions, a senior officer said.
The probe comes on a directive from Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa amidst an increasing number of complaints, some of which he had received personally.
The CID will probe cases of persons illegally acquiring houses on forged documents, cases of driving out the owners by force, extorting money from owners of houses and cases of selling or mortgaging lands owned by others, the officer said.
He said recently a Jaffna-based businessman, who was interested in purchasing an apartment for his family in Wellawatte had approached a broker and reserved an apartment by paying Rs. 3 million. In turn he was issued a set of documents pending the final transaction.
Three months later when he returned to the apartment, a person claiming to be a relative of the owner was present and told him that the owner was overseas and the apartment was not for sale.
He has sought the help of the CID to locate the man.
Among the victims have been persons who have migrated few years ago and returned recently.
Complaints could be made by calling 011-2320141 -5. Fax – 0112380380.