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PIOs under ED scanner for buying agri land

  • Published in Real Estate

PANAJI: After foreigners, it is now persons of Indian origin (PIO) who are under the enforcement directorate (ED) scanner for purchasing land in Goa. ED has begun issuing show cause notices to around 70 PIOs for violations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) when purchasing agricultural land in the state.

Notices are being served to PIOs who have purchased agricultural and residential properties in the state. A senior ED official said PIOs can purchase residential properties in India but the directorate has been asked to investigate the sources of money involved in these purchases.

The official also said that PIOs cannot purchase agricultural land in India and ED is investigating such purchases. The show cause notices have asked PIOs the source of the money used to purchase agricultural land in Goa.

ED has asked PIOs to submit conversion sanads to verify whether the property is agricultural or falls in the settlement zone. "We are investigating agricultural land purchases by PIOs over the last ten years. There are around 30 such agricultural properties that have been purchased in Goa," the official said.

He added that most of the PIOs are Goans settled in the United Kingdom (UK) and few are north Indians settled aboard.

The ED official said, "We are investigating whether PIOs have paid the amount through non resident external account (NRE) and non resident ordinary account (NRO) for purchase of residential properties in the state." He added that PIOs purchasing residential properties have to make the payment through NRE or NRO accounts.

The cases of FEMA violation were referred by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the state government to ED. ED is investigating 450 cases of FEMA violations in purchase of agricultural properties in Goa.

The ED official also said that most foreigners have liquidized their properties in their country and formed companies in India to purchase properties and start business in Goa.

Last week, ED had issued about 21 show cause notices to British, German and Italian nationals for FEMA violations. In July, ED had issued 24 show cause notices to European nationals. The directorate has also recovered around Rs 6.5 lakh from foreigners for FEMA violations while purchasing land in Goa.

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