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Narendra Modi eyes real estate assets in drive against graft

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New Delhi, 26 Dec 2016 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi has quietly plugged a tax loophole used by the wealthy to buy real estate in someone else’s name as part of his campaign against corruption, a senior tax official said on Monday.

While the focus of his administration was managing the fallout of a shock move last month to scrap old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, the official told Reuters that the department expected to step up scrutiny of real estate assets with suspicious titles.

Tax officials expected to use returns for the current year that are filed in July as well as other means such as raids and data from bank transactions to gather information about suspicious real estate assets, the official said.

“This is our priority for next year,” said the official, requesting anonymity as unauthorized to speak to the media.

Any move to clean up India’s messy real estate market could prove to be a mammoth and messy task and would come even as the Modi government is facing mounting criticism of its handling of the cash crunch that followed the scrapping of higher denomination currency notes.

India’s land records are patchy and arcane. Analysts say people such as politicians, businessmen and non-resident Indians often use cash they haven’t paid taxes on to buy property, but put it in the name of their relatives or trusted employees.

But often apartments and land pass down generations in a family without the original owner’s name ever being changed in the title.

Data on the scale of such activity is not available. But industry estimates show about 5 to 10 percent of real estate in many cities is bought by people who have evaded taxes.

In his monthly radio address on Sunday, Modi defended demonetisation, which he has billed as an attempt to fight corruption, and said the government would implement the law to clean up India’s real estate records in coming days.

“There is no question of a retreat,” Modi said.

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PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti released from detention after 14 months

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Jammu, 13 Oct : Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti was on Tuesday released from detention. “PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti is being released from detention,” said Jammu and Kashmir administration spokesperson Rohit Kansal.

A government order issued on Tuesday night said her detention was being revoked with immediate effect.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration in July had extended her detention by three months under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA).

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Cinemas, theatres, multiplexes to open with up to 50% seating capacity from Oct 15

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Swimming pools for training of sportspersons to open with SOP from Oct 15

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SAD breaks alliance with BJP Leaves NDA in protest against farmers ordinance

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Chandigarh, 26 Sep : The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has severed its alliance with the BJP. The Akali Dal had a 22-year-old alliance with the BJP.

The decision was taken after a meeting of the Akali Dal’s Kaur Committee which lasted for more than four hours today. Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal addressed the press after the meeting and announced that he would no longer be a part of BJP-NDA.

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