'Aliens buying property illegally'

Centre tells city to investigate reports

 The Centre has asked the city government to keep a vigil on foreign nationals trying to illegally buy property.

In a letter sent to the Chief Secretary on August 22, the Centre also asked  Delhi government to trace foreign nationals staying in the city illegally after expiry of their visas.

“It has come to our notice that foreign nationals are buying immovable property illegally in some parts of the country. Many organisations and social groups have also made representations to the central government expressing their serious concern in this regard,” said the letter from a joint secretary of Department of Economic Affairs under the Ministry of Finance.

“Moreover, foreign national persons coming to India and staying beyond 182 days on a tourist or other visa meant for a certain period, are illegally acquiring immovable property in India in violation of the extant rules and regulations under the FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act),” said the letter, a copy of which is with Deccan Herald.

Following the directive, the city government asked the concerned agencies to conduct a scrutiny of properties suspected to have been bought illegally by foreign nationals.

The Union government referred to a master circular of the Reserve Bank of India, issued on July 1, 2014, and said: “It may be further noted that no person being a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, China, Iran, Nepal or Bhutan shall acquire or transfer immovable property in India without prior permission of the Reserve Bank of India.”

An IAS official posted with the city government said a number of people from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Nigeria are on the radar, especially those who have a restaurant, or a manufacturing or export business in the city.

“There are a number of Afghans and Bangladeshis doing business in Nizamuddin, Old Delhi and other places in Delhi. We will scrutinise every detail of suspected sale and purchase of property in these areas through fake papers. There are a number of eateries owned by Afghan nationals in Delhi,” the official said.

The letter has been forwarded to Delhi Development Authority, Municipal Corporations of Delhi and the property registration or tehsildar's office for further action.

An official said some foreign nationals may be getting local support, mostly from property dealers, to buy property with forged documents.

“We will scrutinise every minute detail of any suspect property transaction in the city,” the official added.

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