Land owned by British national seized in GoaMarch 2nd, 2011 - 12:35 pm ICT by IANS
Panaji, March 2 (IANS) Two properties owned by a British national in Goa have been confiscated by the Enforcement Directorate as the land was purchased in violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), a query under the Right to Information (RTI) act has revealed.
Records sourced by a local RTI activist also show that the ED has also recently fined Carol Elizabth Ashby - a follower of the Puttaparthi Sai Baba — to the tune of Rs.5 lakh as a penalty for purchasing the two properties measuring 3 lakh sq m in the picturesque village of Assagao, 15 km from here, in contravention of FEMA norms.
“This is the sixth property owned by foreigners which has been seized by the ED for purchasing land in violation of Indian laws,” said RTI activist Rajan Ghate, who has been campaigning against the sale of land to foreign nationals here.
The state government in 2007 had asked the ED to probe the properties bought by foreigners in the period between 2003 and 2007 in violation of FEMA norms, after a public outcry that large chunks of land were being illegally purchased by foreigners, especially in coastal Goa.
All the properties, largely owned by individuals and companies operated by Russians and British nationals, were frozen three years back.
In Ashby’s case, the British national, who is a retired teacher, had moved to Goa in 2007. In its confiscation report dated Nov 30, 2010, ED investigators have said Ashby had been working as a volunteer at a local animal rescue centre and is a devout follower of the Puttaparthi-based religious guru, Sathya Sai Baba.
IANS has a copy of the ED report.
Among the earlier properties seized is one owned by a company M/s True Axis Pvt limited, which was in the news recently, for being linked to the Russian mafia.
ED assistant director Jyoti Sharma, one of the investigators, said the ED was trying to track down FEMA violations and also the source of the money used to purchase the coastal properties.
“We are also probing the possibility of money sourced from proceeds of crime and through sale of narcotics being used to purchase properties. We have also found that money was being pumped in illegally from foreign tax havens to purchase properties in Goa,” Sharma said.
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Tags: animal rescue centre, british nationals, coastal properties, devout follower, ed report, elizabth, enforcement directorate, fema, foreign exchange management, foreign nationals, lakh, local animal, management act, panaji, picturesque village, public outcry, purchasing land, puttaparthi sai baba, rti act, russian mafia