Citizens' Issues
International transit points on alert to check black money during election

The DRI has asked customs officials posted at international transit points to remain vigilant during the Lok Sabha polls and keep a check on passengers and baggage coming from sensitive sectors, including the Gulf

All international airports, ports and land borders in India have been put on alert by the Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to check the circulation of fake Indian currency notes (FICN) and black money during the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.


The DRI, the lead agency to check smuggling and import duty evasion, has asked customs officials posted at international transit points to remain vigilant during the Lok Sabha polls and keep a check on passengers and baggage coming from sensitive sectors, including the Gulf.


The alert was issued some time back following an input that there may be a spurt in smuggling of fake currency notes from abroad during the polls.


There are 18 international airports in the country — Amritsar, Jaipur, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Nagpur, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Goa, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kozhikode, Coimbatore, Tiruchirapalli, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Port Blair.


Customs officials have been also asked to be alert at international transit land routes, including the Attari-Wagah border (Punjab) and Munabao Railway Station in Jodhpur (Rajasthan), among others.


“Ports along the country’s coast lines bringing in cargo from other nations have also been alerted to keep a check on smuggling of fake currency notes and circulation of black money,” an official said.


The customs officials are also maintaining a strict vigil on frequent passengers to and from Gulf nations and the South-East sector (Malaysia, the Philippines, Cambodia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand, among others).


Saradha scam: ED seizes assets worth Rs140 crore
While attaching assets of individuals and firms worth Rs140 crore on money laundering charges, the ED issued summons to several entities, including MPs
Widening its probe into the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued summons to numerous entities even as it attached assets worth Rs140 crore of individuals and firms on money laundering charges.
The ED has also issued a notice asking general public 'to furnish information and particulars of properties, both movable and immovable as well as bank accounts, in West Bengal and other places, if any, related to Saradha group known to them, with specific details' to it.
Recently, ED's zonal office in Kolkata issued summons to about 15 people involved in the funds transactions of the Saradha scam that was being perpetrated largely in West Bengal, Odisha and Assam and came to the fore early last year after duped investors raised their voice of grievance.
The agency has asked those involved in the case, including some sitting and former members of Parliament (MPs) and their family members, to present themselves or send their authorised representatives for recording of their statements under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act before 25th April.
The notices come in the backdrop of ED attaching Rs105.62 crore assets of various entities involved in the case including Saradha Director Sudipta Sen and his wife Piyali.
It had attached Rs34 crore worth of assets earlier in the same probe.
ED registered a money laundering case last year taking cognisance of the three state police departments.
The agency has till now issued attachment orders on all equity shares of all 224 companies of the Saradha group, insurance policies in the name of Sen and his wife, numerous land properties and plots, 390 bank accounts and equity shares of a TV channel run by the beleaguered group.
The agency has also issued an advisory that no one should “transact” in these attached assets without seeking permission of the agency.


National Consumer Forum slams developer for unfair practices
In a case of taking investors for a ride in Bhuj district of Gujarat, the NCDRC asked the developer to get the land converted into non-agricultural land and handover the plots to buyers through execution of sale deeds
In a hard hitting judgement, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) asked a Gujarat-based developer to convert agricultural land into non-agricultural (NA) within 90 days, execute sale deeds within 180 days and pay costs to buyers who had filed the complaint.
“The bizarre conduct of the opponent parties (developers) is difficult to fathom.  Notice was served to them but they did not care a fig. Ten years have elapsed but it cannot be said that consumers will get plots during their life time. People are exasperated by senseless delay.  The OPs have played fast and loose with the consumers,” the National Consumer Forum said in its judgement on 2 April 2014.
The case relates with buying agricultural land, converting it into NA land and then selling the plot to buyers. Bhuj-based Rajubhai Tank and Liladharbhai Dama, both directors of Odhav Hari Developers Pvt Ltd and Rajesh B Mehta, agent of the developer bought one such piece of agricultural land. In 2004, they launched a scheme that was published an advertisement for selling plots of 125 sq meters each to buyers in 36 instalments. 
However, despite several buyers paying all instalments within the specified time, Odhav Hari Developers did not execute the sale deeds. This prompted buyers to file a complaint before the District Consumer Forum. The District Forum directed the developers to execute registered sale deed within three months and pay compensation of Rs3,000 and cost of Rs2,000 to the buyer.
Aggrieved by the order, the developer filed appeal before the State Commission. The Commission, however, dismissed the appeal filed by Odhav Hari Developers. 
Odhav Hari Developers claimed before the State Commission that out of 1,500 customers it had already refunded money to 1,200 customers and it is ready to refund money to aggrieved customers who had approached the consumer forum as well.
However, one of the customers pointed out that that during 2004 to 2014, the rates of plots have gone up by leaps and bounds. The plot of land these customers bought for Rs25,000 in 2004 now costs over Rs2 lakh, and since it is not possible for them to buy plots at this rate with the paltry refund that the developer would give, they want the plot only. He also said the developer should execute sale deep and get the agriculture land converted into NA land.
While dismissing the petition filed by Odhav Hari Developers, the State Commission pointed out that the developers (petitioners) gave an advertisement without obtaining requisite sanction from the Collector. They also did not wish to pay the difference in the rates prevailing in the year 2004 and 2014. So, paying back the money with just 9% interest rate (to customers) would be an ‘unfair trade practice’. The State Commission, then directed the developer to pay Rs10,000 each to all complainants within 90 days under Section 26 of the Consumer Protection Act. 
Odhav Hari Developers then filed appeal before the NCDRC which delivered a common order on 17 revision petitions. According to NCDRC, “It is crystal clear if the premium is paid, land would become non-agricultural and there would not be any other opinion with regard to this aspect. The petitioners should have anticipated at the time of acquiring this land in the year 2004 or prior to that, what would be the condition/ prevailing situation.  They should have made it clear in the allotment letter that this premium to the collector would have to be paid by the consumers.  The said condition was not shown to us.  After keeping the money of the people for 10 years, the Ops (developer) want to return the same, with interest at 9%. They have not shown the willingness that they want to pay the difference in the rates prevailing in the year 2004 and 2014. The consumers cannot purchase a plot like this, after the expiry of 10 years for a sum of Rs2 lakh each.  Their action is below the belt.  They are unfairly trying to treat their consumers.  The OPs have succeeded to feather its own nest i.e. to make profits for themselves at the expenses of others.  The OPs should have taken the plunge after getting free and clear title to land in dispute.  It is also noteworthy that if the premium to be paid to the Collector is reduced, will they return the money to the consumers?  In case the money is paid back to the consumers, the petitioners would sell it at a very high rate. This is an unfair trade practice.”
The NCDRC not only passed strictures against the developer but also directed it to convert the agricultural land into NA land within 90 days, execute sale deeds within 180 days with customers who had booked the plots in 2004 and pay costs to buyers. who had filed the complaint.




Vaibhav Dhoka

4 years ago

Only such hard hitting orders will give relief to consumer.

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.

To continue

Sign Up or Sign In


To continue

Sign Up or Sign In



The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Online Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine)