An IT czar, two top-notch cricketers and a leading fashion designer have one more thing in common besides being super-achievers in their respective fields: All four, along with some 400 affluent Bangaloreans, seem to have been taken for a royal ride while attempting to purchase posh villas.
Another major issue is the ambiguity over who the developer-cum-owner of the land really is. The name that has repeatedly cropped up is that of Prestige. According to Balasubramanian, the property was jointly developed by O G Ragulu’s son, Shrivatsa Rajulu, P S Developers (Prestige) and Laughing Waters. The permission for the layout from the administrator of Ramagondanahalli was obtained by Irfan Razack, chairman and managing director, Prestige Group. Razack held the power of attorney for O G Rajulu, the original owner of the land. Razack’s address mentioned in the documents is Copper Arch, Infantry Road — the official address of Prestige before it moved to the current office on Guard Cross Road.
However, Prestige maintained that P S Developers was never a part of it. In a letter to the Laughing Waters Owners and Residents Association on November 9, 2010, Prestige Group’s senior vice president, T Arvind Pai, clarified: “We maintain that P S Developers is not part of the Prestige Group and to our knowledge is no longer in existence.” Pai stated that as per the grant khata issued by the thasildar’s office on March 13, 1967, “There is a kharab land of 4.36 acres which has to be reserved for road and drains. It is very clearly established that Laughing Waters is not a Gomala land or government land, and it is therefore incorrect to state that this is a Gomala land.”