A slowdown in the economy can be good for those shadowy players, who operate in invisible and clandestine ways and own enormous wealth. They can nudge, goad, and pressurise those who are in trouble to sell assets that can yield high returns in the future. Suddenly, over the past six months, the Capital seems to be full of ‘punters’, who are possibly deputed by such forces, to explore ways and means to buy huge properties in Lutyen’s and other parts of Delhi. The punters, say sources, are armed with all the information about specific and lucrative real estate in prime locations such as Connaught Place, Golf Links, Khan Market, Daryaganj, Malcha Marg, and Sundar Nagar. They know each location, the circle rates, and the market rates. They are willing to arm twist the owners, as they did in Daryaganj, where small gangs with a religious bent have threatened to close down specific shops, and even thrown their goods on the roads. They have terrorised the shopkeepers, who now live in a state of fear. The shop owners, who remained open till late in the night, now close down at 11 pm. Although such pressure tactics haven’t been used elsewhere, a fear psychosis has gripped owners in other parts of the city. According to gfiles’ investigations, the punters hail from Kolkata. Their modus operandi is simple: offer 20-30% premium over the prices that the owners demand, pay the money within 24 hours, and even help the owners shift to new locations. The deals are done within 48 hours. Sources reveal that the same situation exists in Mumbai. The only unknowns are the names of the individuals whom the punters represent.