ED probes foreigners buying land in Goa

The Enforcement Directorate is investigating 45 cases of companies having foreign nationals as directors buying land in Goa since 2008 allegedly in violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) regulations.

The land, on the face of it, was allegedly sold to companies registered by an Indian but had foreign nationals as directors or shareholders, who later took ownership of the property.

Using this route, the foreigners, mostly Russians and British nationals, were able to acquire properties by sidestepping the rule that needs them to stay in India for 183 days to be eligible to buy property.

Of the 45 cases, investigations have already been completed in nine involving properties valued at an estimated Rs 7.85 crore, sources told The Indian Express. Showcause notices have also been issued for violating FEMA.

In two other cases, adjudication proceedings have been completed and penalties amounting to Rs 17 lakh and Rs 9 lakh imposed on the companies and their directors respectively, the source said.

In many cases, the ED received complaints from the state registrar regarding violations of forex regulations, while some cases were forwarded by the RBI.

Apart from corporate entities, individuals were also involved in buying properties in alleged violation of forex rules.

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