GoM finalises draft of Land Acquisition Bill

The government said some land size thresholds on private purchases in the LA Bill, have now been left to the discretion of states


New Delhi: Days after a ministerial panel finalised the draft of the Land Acquisition Bill, the government on Thursday said some land size thresholds on private purchases have now been left to the discretion of states, reports PTI.

"What we are stipulating in this law is that there will be a rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) package for private purchase of land wherever private purchase of land for private parties is taking place. But the threshold beyond which it will apply is left to the state government," Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh told reporters about the draft bill finalised by the Group of Ministers (GoM) chaired by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar.

It is a major shift from the earlier proposal in the Bill which had said that the R&R on private purchases was to apply to all acquisitions above 100 acres in rural and 50 acres in urban areas.

"West Bengal may say that any land beyond one acre will have R&R, Punjab may say any land more than thousand acres...that is entirely up to the state governments," he said.

The draft of the long-delayed bill was finalised at the third meeting of the ministerial panel on 16th October.

The Minister said that according to the final draft, approval of gram sabha and other such institutions like panchayat will be required for acquiring land in Scheduled Areas.

Ramesh, who discussed the bill with Pawar today, said its final draft will now be placed before the Union Cabinet and is expected to be introduced in the Winter session of Parliament.

Talking about the states' role specified in the bill, he said, "If the state does not want to acquire land, it is free not to acquire land. This bill does not force any state to acquire land. When you acquire land, you acquire it according to this law," he said.

The government had constituted the GoM about a month ago after some ministers voiced strong reservations against certain provisions of the bill at a Cabinet meeting.

The Bill was introduced in Parliament in September last year and was referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee which submitted its recommendations in May.

It has been hanging fire since long even though the National Advisory Council headed by Sonia Gandhi has been pushing for the law and framed its broad contours.


Builder told to pay Rs30,000 to housing society in Navi Mumbai

The housnig society argued that the building firm failed to complete the lease deed and transfer deed formalities since 1988 which resulted in the stamp duty swelling up to Rs6.5 lakh


Thane: The District Consumer Redressel Forum in Thane has directed a building firm to pay compensation of Rs30,000 towards deficiency in services to a housing society in Navi Mumbai, reports PTI.

While absolving CIDCO of any liability, the Forum, headed by Jyoti Mandale and member Smita L Desai, ordered Ibrahim Abdul Kadir, Parvez Imza Kadir and Fazel Ismail Kadir--all directors of Liberty Investment, to pay the charges to Liberty Cooperative Housing Society located in sector 17 of Vashi.

The society argued that the building firm failed to complete the lease deed and transfer deed formalities since 1988 which resulted in the stamp duty swelling up to Rs6.5 lakh.

CIDCO was also made the respondent since the plot of land was given on lease of 60 years.

The court observed that the builder has failed to transfer ownership rights which amounts to deficiency but rejected the argument that CIDCO is also party to the act.

The Forum asked the firm to give Rs25,000 as charges for causing mental agony to the society and Rs5,000 as legal expenses.



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ED attaches assets worth Rs822 crore of Satyam's Raju, others

The ED attached the accounts of Satyam Computers as its probe found that Raju and his associates 'wrongfully' offloaded inflated shares of the company by way of sale or pledging of shares


Hyderabad/New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday issued attachment orders freezing fixed deposits worth Rs822 crore of B Ramalinga Raju, founder of scam-hit Satyam computers, and his family in connection with its probe in the money laundering case, reports PTI.

The orders issued by the Hyderabad zonal office of the agency specify that these deposits, held in the accounts of M/s Satyam Computers and Services Ltd (SCSL), were being attched as it has identified these value of assets as "proceeds of crime" under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The accounts of SCSL, according to the ED attachment order, in Andhra bank, Bank of Baroda, IDBI and ING Vysya have been freezed, even as the agency has filed a complaint in this regard with the Adjudicating authority of the PMLA in Delhi.

The ED attached the accounts of SCSL as its probe found that Raju and his associates "wrongfully" offloaded inflated shares of the said company by way of sale or pledging of shares, the order alleged.

According to the order, Raju and his family members allegedly "lured" investors into buying these shares by publishing "false" information about the financial credentials of the scam-hit company.

"Trail of loans derived from front companies revealed that Rs822 crores out of Rs2,171.45 crore found their way to M/s SCSL and were used for day-to-day expenses like payment of salaries among others.

"Since this amount subsists with M/s SCSL and constitutes a part of the loans that were derived or obtained by pledge of inflated shares of M/s SCSL, which is, Rs2171.45 crores they fall within the mischief of proceeds of crime under the PMLA and are liable for attachment," the order said.

An attachment under PMLA ensures that such assets cannot be used by the accused and he/she cannot take any benefits from these properties, and such an order can be challenged by the accused at the adjudicating authority of the said Act.

The ED had framed its case on the basis of the CBI FIR registered in this case and two subsequent charge sheets the probe agency filed in 2009.

The ED order explained the modus operandi of the sale of these shares to investors, which the agency alleges, were done by publishing wrong information.

"B Ramalinga Raju, Chairman of SCSL, had conspired with the other accused persons during the period 2001-2008 and lured investors into buying the shares of SCSL during this period by continuously publishing falsified books of accounts, thereby projecting a very rosy financial picture of the company for keeping the share prices of SCSL inflated.

"Raju who knew the true state of affairs of the finances in M/s SCSL, got the shares of SCSL held by him and his family members offloaded at opportune times and gained wrongfully. Offloading of inflated shares of M/s SCSL occurred by way of sale or pledge of shares," the ED said.

According to the probe of the agency, all the shares held in the name of Raju, his brother B Rama Raju, B Nandini Raju W/o Ramalinga Raju and B Radha Raju W/o B Rama Raju were transferred to Ms SRSR Holdings Private Limited in which family members of Ramalinga Raju were the directors.

The order said M/s SRSR Holdings pledged the inflated shares with non-banking financial companies and loans to the extent of Rs2,171.45 crore were obtained based on the inflated value of shares of M/s SCSL.

"These loans were circuitously transferred among the 327 front companies floated by Ramalinga Raju, his relatives and his associates to disguise the true source of funds. The front companies used these loans to buy properties in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

The ED has earlier attached 354 properties in this case which are valued at approximately Rs250 crores.



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