State revenue dept never probed Sami’s land deals


MUMBAI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) may have confiscated properties of Pakistani singer Adnan Sami for violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, but the state revenue department is yet to investigate as to how the properties were registered by the stamp office.

According to records available with the ED, Sami had, in 2003, purchased eight immovable properties and five parking spaces in Oberoi Sky Garden CHS in Lokhandwala, Andheri for a total of Rs 2.53 crore without the RBI’s permission. In fact, a special branch of the Mumbai police, led by the then additional commissioner of police Suresh Kakkar, had at that time conducted a high-level probe into the singer’s transactions. Kakkar had submitted a comprehensive report to the then commissioner of police, saying that all the transactions were illegal and in blatant violation of the rules prescribed by the Centre and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Following a report in the Times of India earlier this year, M Rameshkumar, who was the additional chief secretary at that time, had, on February 18, ordered a probe into how a Pakistani national not only managed to purchase immovable properties, but also registered them at the Andheri stamp office. Rameshkumar had asked the controller of stamp, R N Shringare, to conduct a probe and submit the report within a month. As per the guidelines prescribed by the Centre, a foreigner must obtain permission from the Centre as well as the RBI before purchasing immovable property in India.

“We will have to check all the relevant documents and information furnished by Adnan while registering the properties. We will also examine if he had given correct information on his nationality and whether our officials checked his nationality before registering the transactions,” Rameshkumar, who is now retired, had told TOI.

Following a routine order from the Centre on properties of Pakistani nationals in India, an official agency had conducted a probe into the properties purchased by Sami between 2003 and 2005. The agency had taken up Sami’s case with the RBI and the MEA. The RBI informed the agency that Sami had not taken its permission before purchasing immovable properties in Mumbai.

A senior revenue department official said that the controller of stamps has power to cancel all of Sami’s transactions if it was confirmed that the singer had purchased the properties without the permission of the competent authorities. “Now, it appears that the revenue department never conducted a probe into Sami’s property acquisitions,” he said.

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This post was submitted by Mudit Agrawal.

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