Jalandhar divisional commissioner SR Ladhar on Tuesday dismissed a plea pertaining to sale deed registration of erstwhile Krishna theatre land as 'residential' property. The owners would now have to pay nearly Rs 15.5 lakh as stamp duty to get registration of sale deed of 26.5 marlas regularised in revenue records.
In his order, Ladhar said that it was admitted fact that Krishna theatre was operational at the said piece of land situated on railway road till 1980. “At the time of purchase, the land was being used for commercial purposes.
If somebody decides to convert a commercial showroom into a residence, would the land be termed as residential property? It is a strange case, wherein, the collector, Jalandhar had twice passed the orders terming the property in question as commercial one, yet the petitioners are trying hard to prove it otherwise without any merit or logic,” Ladhar said.
“From my personal knowledge, the market value of this land is more than Rs 2.5 crore, as it is situated in the heart of Jalandhar. It has been registered at a meager price of Rs 40.05 lakh, which is 20% of the market price. This is a fraud with the state government. The plea is dismissed with the costs.”
Aggrieved over the decision of the collector-cum- additional deputy commissioner to fix Rs 5 lakh per marla as value of the land in question and the former's direction to pay the requisite stamp duty, the owners had earlier moved the court of the Jalandhar divisional commissioner to get collector's orders set aside. The collector had evaluated the property at Rs 1.32 crore.
Interestingly, Ladhar recently dismissed another similar plea, wherein, 26.5 marlas pertaining to Maharaja Regency hotel, owned by the same group of people, was registered as residential property. The owners would have to shell out nearly Rs 15.5 lakh as stamp duty in that case as well.
The owners of these two properties including Karnail Singh of Naugajja village in Jalandhar, Meenu Chadha and Paramjit Singh of New Delhi had purchased two chunks of 26.5 marlas each and got sale deeds registered in revenue records as “residential” properties instead of commercial ones on February 7, 2006 and February 9, 2007, respectively.
Upon receiving a complaint against huge evasion of stamp duty, the then deputy commissioner (DC) ordered the additional deputy commissioner (ADC) to conduct a probe. The ADC, in his April 12, 2010 report, concluded that Arvind Parkash Sharma, sub-registrar and Maninder Singh Sidhu, joint sub-registrar had caused huge revenue loss to the state exchequer by getting these sale deeds registered by allowing payment of stamp duty as applicable to residential property, in spite of the fact that the property was commercial in nature.
The ADC recorded that the revenue officials did not mention that Krishna theatre did exist on that land in the past. The inquiry officer also recommended that the DC may order action against these erring revenue officers.
The petitioners were, however, arguing their case on the basis of their reported plans to construct residential flats on this property. Since they were coming up with a residential project, they should be charged stamp duty as applicable to residential property, they contended. They maintained that the Jalandhar municipal corporation (MC) had passed a building plan in August 21, 1996.
The then MC joint commissioner had maintained that the building plan was approved for group housing scheme, which was 'commercial' activity.
“Besides, the validity of the building plan had already elapsed,” the MC official had said.