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Enforcement Directorate action on 62 Afghan-owned properties

In its first major action against the immovable properties illegally acquired by foreign nationals in the country, the Enforcement Directorate has decided to initiate attachment proceedings against 62 such properties, acquired by Afghan nationals in various parts of the national capital, under the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (Fema). Sources said investigations revealed that these properties, mostly located in posh localities, were acquired by Afghan nationals without following guidelines of the Reserve Bank of India.

Sources said, “It has come to the notice of the central agencies, including ED and the Bureau of Immigration, that Afghan nationals have acquired immovable properties illegally in certain areas of the national”. Investigations revealed that 62 such properties were acquired without the mandatory prior permission from the RBI, sources said adding that this is violation of the Fema (Acquisition and Transfer of Immovable property in India) regulations. “These properties are located in high-end localities of the national capital, including Greater Kailash, C.R. Park, Alakananda, Pitampura, Tilak Nagar, Nanak Vihar, Kingsway Camp, Vikas Puri, Janak Puri and Hudson Lines,” sources said. These properties will soon be attached by the ED sleuths, they added.

As per the provisions under Fema, “No person being a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, China, Iran, Nepal or Bhutan without prior permission of the RBI shall acquire or transfer immovable property in India, other than lease, not exceeding five years”.

Concerned departments of the state government must verify relevant travel documents and the nature of visa before registering any sale or purchase of property, especially by foreigners, including Afghan nationals, they added.

“Government of India has already advised all state governments to be extra vigilant in matters of acquisition and transfer of immovable property in India by a person resident outside India and satisfy themselves about the eligibility under Fema before registering a sale or purchase of immovable property. The enquiries may include both intending buyer and seller,” sources said. The centre has also asked all state authorities to review, wherever appropriate, registration of sale or purchase already made to determine their compliance with legal requirements. It was also observed that foreign nationals, especially Afghan nationals, 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 violation of the rules under Fema, sources said.

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