‘If found using black money, builders and home-buyers in Maharashtra may lose property’ | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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‘If found using black money, builders and home-buyers in Maharashtra may lose property’

If builders and home-buyers are suspected of using unaccounted money, RERA officials can search and seize properties, said lawyer Parimal Shroff

mumbai Updated: Sep 17, 2017 22:58 IST
HT Correspondent

Apart from delays in handing over flats to home-buyers, the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) would keep an eye on the use of black money in the real estate sector, said an expert.

If builders and home-buyers are suspected of using unaccounted money, RERA officials can search and seize properties, said lawyer Parimal Shroff.

MahaRERA chairman Gautam Chaterjee said that the authority will act after getting complaints.

There are provisions in the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act to crack down on black money.

“The regulator has been given the power to search and seize properties. It can also check account books of builders,” said Shroff. “Even real estate agents can be summoned to trace the source of black money,” he added.

The Act mandates that builders, real estate agents and brokers have to register with the authority. Agents and brokers are not allowed to market and sell any projects until they complete registration.

Shroff said under the act the builder has to deposit 70% of the amount collected from the buyer in a separate bank account and he can withdraw part of it depending on the stage of construction.

This makes the use of black money in the real estate difficult, he added.

Real estate is said to be one of the favourite sectors for black money hoarders. For years, builders have used their black money to fund construction, said a source.

However with the state government hiking the ready reckoner rates in most places, there seems to be reduction of this black money component.

Another concern for the government is the 12% GST rate. Sceptics belive that to lower their GST burden, home-buyers may pay part of the money in cash.

The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, which was notified last November, to crack down on black money is also showing results.

Till now, the Income Tax department has attached 381 properties across the country worth more than Rs 1,300 crore.