According to seized evidences in the Education Minister, former government servant-land sharks nexus, money amounting to more than Rs 25 crore in cash and kind was exchanged for conversion of properties all over the state.
According to the evidence, out of the above amount an amount of Rs 19.76 crore was paid during April 2006 to August 2006 and Rs 4.99 crore was paid by a cheque dated May 26, 2006 from the account of N Suryanarayan, the colourful and controversial casino visiting, ex government servant.
The agitation against the Regional Plan 2011 forced the plan to be scrapped.
“The very fact that we were fighting against the Regional Plan was that we knew that money must have changed hands. This was precisely what we were going to correct,” Dr Oscar Rebello, then leading the fight against the RP in 2005-2006 told media on Wednesday.
“What we need to find out is that whether those very properties are out in the new Regional Plan. This is also the precise reason why we have to have the ODPs to come under the Regional Plan so that the guidelines on eco-sensitive zones apply,” Dr Rebello added.
“The GBA has been fighting against land conversion and this is why the whole agitation came up at that time. What we are doing now is keeping a track on any large scale conversions. Many large scale conversions have not happened but some may have slipped in. Out of the 3000 objections 95 per cent are for conversions. This shows that there is still pressure,” the present convener of the GBA, Dr Sabina Martins told media.
In 2006 December, the GBA was formed. In around February 2007, the 2011 Regional Plan was withdrawn. But, after the 2011 plan was withdrawn, the 2001 plan was in force and many conversions have taken place under that plan. It may be recalled that top builders were raided by teams of income tax sleuths from Bangalore, on Tuesday.
The raids came ahead of the Goa assembly elections scheduled on March 3 and assumes importance as money and liquor were specifically mentioned by the EC as could be used in Goa to lure and influence voters.
In the Suryanarayan case, cash amounting to Rs 19.76 crore were allegedly paid to builder Sadiq Sheikh at his residence in Dona Paula and in the office of another builder Dinar Tarcar at Campal from April 2006 to August 2006, and a cheque of Rs 4.99 crore was drawn in Suryanarayana’s wife’s name from her Andhra Bank account.
Suryanarayana’s lawyers are in court trying to recover the Rs 4.99 crore paid by cheque. The land transactions were done under the following guises:
Modus Operandi 1: They would either enter into an agreement to purchase small pieces of land by paying advance amounts to the land owner or obtain the power of attorney to sign on behalf of the land owners. They would then enter into an MoU with the ultimate purchaser from whom advances were taken and then the final sale deed would be drawn between the original land owners and ultimate purchasers. The payments would be passed on to the owners directly and accordingly the MoUs or any agreements between intermediaries (middle men) would be cancelled. There was an astronomical difference between the actual price paid to the land owners and the amounts paid by the ultimate purchaser.
Modus Operandi 2: File litigation to postpone the liability of income tax. This is done by treating the transactions as not complete and treating the amounts as advances. The ultimate purchasers, who have given the amounts as so called advances, write-off those amounts as not recoverable claiming such amounts as business loss and the middlemen who received the money would continue to show it as advance in their books and neither would recover/return the advance and nor pay taxes on the same.
Modus Operandi 3: Additional amounts were passed on to various persons/entities of the seller group by way of advance for purchase of properties in future or in the form of consultancy charges. Sometimes clauses were also introduced putting forfeiture of the amount and fixing time limits for completion of future transactions. However, the recipient would continue to account the same as advances but would not offer the same as income.
Modus Operandi 4: Land was purchased by middlemen as agricultural land and sold to ultimate purchasers. The profits from the sale of lands were claimed as exempt on the ground that land sold was agricultural.