Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Government yes to new Bill: Ads that mislead can land celebs in jail

The government has accepted the recommendations of a parliamentary panel to impose stringent accountability on celebrities for endorsing products and for misleading advertisements.

Celebrity brand ambassadors could soon have to think twice before endorsing products that make unrealistic claims, which can fetch them a jail term up to five years, apart from penalty of Rs 50 lakh.

The government has accepted the recommendations of a parliamentary panel to impose stringent accountability on celebrities for endorsing products and for misleading advertisements.

Following a nod to the proposed official amendments by the Consumer Affairs Ministry, a draft Cabinet note was moved, and the Law Ministry has cleared significant changes in the existing legal regime to make celebrities liable for such advertisements. The changes are expected to be cleared in a Cabinet meeting in the coming week.

Section 17 of the revised consumer protection Bill defines “endorsement” as any message, verbal statement or any other form of depiction to show a celebrity’s “likeness” for a product, which leads the consumer to believe that it reflects the celebrity’s opinion, finding or experience.

The Parliamentary Committee on Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, chaired by J C Divakar Reddy of Telugu Desam Party, had in its report in April suggested an unambiguous definition of the term “endorsement” in the new law. The legislative department of the Law Ministry has, therefore, defined the term “endorsement” and also “endorser” as including individual, group or any institution.

Section 75B of the new Bill seeks to make any “false or misleading” endorsement which is “prejudicial to the interest of any consumer” a penal offence, punishable with a jail term of up to two years and a fine of Rs 10 lakh for the first such offence, and imprisonment of five years along with a fine of Rs 50 lakh for the second and subsequent offences.

According to the new Bill, the onus would be on celebrity brand ambassadors to prove their innocence. “It is a defence if it is proved that the endorser took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence before endorsing a product or service, but mistaken belief shall not be a defence,” states the Law Ministry draft of the new law.

Section 75A makes a manufacturer and service provider also legally responsible for any false and misleading advertisements, and prescribes penalties in the same manner in which celebrity brand ambassadors have been made liable.

The proposed amendments also lay down a mechanism to prosecute celebrities, stating a court shall take cognizance of offences regarding false and misleading advertisements only after a complaint is made by the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), a new executive agency that shall be established to fill “an institutional void in the regulatory regime extant”.

This agency would have the authority to settle the first offence by celebrities on payment of a compounding fee, but the brand ambassador shall be exonerated only if the trial court accepts the settlement.

While ascertaining the compounding fee, the agency would be taking into account the gross revenue from sales due to the misleading advertisement, impact of the violation with respect to the audience it affected, frequency and duration of the violation, and the vulnerability of the class of people so affected.

The new law also seeks to authorise the CCPA to make regulations for e-commerce, direct selling and multi-level marketing. “The Central government may, for the purposes of protecting the rights of consumers and to prevent unfair trade practices in e-commerce and direct selling, may make such rules as may be necessary,” the Law Ministry’s note says.

Monday, 29 August 2016

90 Indian family offices play with $100 billion & more

Azim Premji, Narayan Murthy, SD Shibulal, Kris Gopalakrishnan, the Burmans, the Sundarams, Ajay Piramal and Patni brothers keep some of the largest family offices in the country.

MUMBAI: Nestled obscurely on the higher floors of plush commercial buildings across leading metros are small office 'suites' without name boards, that serve a growing number of super-rich in India. In fact, some of these offices -- famously called 'family offices' -- manage family wealth that can match the assets of top companies such as Bajaj Auto, Cipla and Godrej Industries.

The country is home to 90 mammoth single family offices (SFOs) that manage private wealth in excess of $100 billion, according to an internal study conducted by Association of International Wealth Management of India (AIWMI). An SFO, loosely explained, is a firm that manages the personal wealth of one wealthy family.

"The numbers are growing steadily," said Aditya Gadge, chief executive of AIWMI. "90 SFOs is not a big number for a country like India. There's a lot of traditional business wealth here; all these would end in family office-like structure over the next few years. New-generation entrepreneurs would also add to the tally," said Gadge.

Azim Premji (Premji Invest), Narayan Murthy (Catamaran Ventures), SD Shibulal, Kris Gopalakrishnan, the Burmans, the Sundarams (TVS family), Ajay Piramal, Qimar Rai Gupta family and Patni brothers, among others, keep some of the largest family offices in the country. Each of these SFOs is believed to have assets in the range of Rs 6000 crore to Rs 15,000 crore.

"Old business families are cashing out of their businesses... The money these families receive upon selling their businesses are channelled into their own investment firms or family offices," explained Amit Patni, scion of the Patni family which once owned Patni Computers.

"Dividend payouts, partial stake-sales, public listing of shares, et al, are also increasing promoter wealth. All this money is flowing into formal family office-like structures," said Patni. SFOs invest across asset classes and geographical boundaries.

Over 40% of the wealth is invested in equities -- both private and publicly listed. Within equity, start-up investing is the latest fad among most SFOs.

Capital pools such as Narayan Murthy's Catamaran Ventures is learnt to have (direct and indirect) investments in over 100 start-up ventures. Azim Premji's Premji Invest has money parked in Flipkart, Myntra and Snapdeal. Ajay Piramal's SFO is ploughing in as much as $50 million into Montane Venture, an early-stage fund, as its anchor investor. (See graphics) Apart from equity investments, SFOs also allocate money to real estate projects and real estate REITs and NCDs. Infosys co-founder SD Shibulal has invested in more than 700 apartments spread across Seattle and Bellevue area in the United States. Mutual funds and alternative investment vehicles (such as private equity funds, long-short funds) are also lapped by active single family offices. A few families also make good use of RBI's liberalised remittance scheme (LRS) route to invest in overseas assets (mostly technology companies, real estate and commodities).

Under LRS, a resident Indian can invest up to $250,000 in overseas assets every year.

"Capital preservation and growth are important for family offices. To manage funds effectively, SFOs appoint dedicated investment professionals who are given broad directions as to how the fund should be managed. Generating returns is then the job of the wealth manager," said Patni.

Promoters, who cash out of businesses completely, lay a lot of stress on capital protection. Many a time, familial discord or lack of interest to carry on business (especially among new generation) prompts families to cash out. The wealth accumulated by selling the business is managed diligently by professionally-managed SFOs.

"Family offices take care of almost everything, right from investments to tax planning, estate and succession planning.

People with reasonable assets would set up family offices and hire professionals to manage them," said Deepak Natraj, managing director, Aarin Capital, the proprietary investment vehicle of former Infosys CFO Mohandas Pai and Manipal Group Scion Ranjan Pai.

"Family offices also help to weed out conflict of interest. Personal wealth and business wealth are clearly demarcated -- and managed separately," Natraj added.

While SFOs are the preserves of the rich, the not-so-rich can avail themselves of the services of multi-family offices (MFOs) to manage their wealth. MFOs take wealth management mandates from smaller families for a fee every year. There are close to 30 MFOs in India, reports AIWMI.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Navi Mumbai airport to start operations by December 2019, says minister

Cidco, the agency overseeing the project, expects construction work to begin on the site by the end of next monsoon or in a little over 13 months

MUMBAI: Mumbai's air gridlock may start easing in the next four years. The Centre on Thursday said the Navi Mumbai International Airport, which is to act as the aerial bypass to the choked-to-capacity Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, may start operations by December 2019.
Minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha told Lok Sabha , "Selection of concessionaire on public-private partnership basis shall be finalized by December. All major clearances have been obtained, 160 hectares have been acquired... Phase-I of aircraft operations with capacity to handle 10 million passengers per annum is expected to commence by December 2019."

Cidco, the agency overseeing the project, expects construction work to begin on the site by the end of next monsoon or in a little over 13 months. Cidco VC and MD BhushanGagrani told TOI that the agency was working in three areas simultaneously so that the late-2019 target could be met. "The request for quotation work is over. We have issued financial bids to the three shortlisted companies (led by Tatas, GVK and GMR). By September-end, we should be ready with the concessionaire."

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Cops book 2 Mumbai builders under MOFA

This was the second offence registered against builders under MOFA.

PUNE: The Kondhwa police on Saturday booked two Mumbai-based builders and their nine associtates for allegedly taking money from home buyers but failing to hand over apartments within a stipulated time frame.

The builders have been booked under relevant sections of Maharashstra Ownership Flats (Regulation of the promotion of construction, sale, management and transfer) Act and Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act and Maharashtra Apartment Ownership Rules and the cheating and forgery sections of the Indian Penal Code. This was the second offence registered against builders under MOFA.

Recently, the Pune rural police booked Dehu Road-based builders for not executing a conveyance deed for flat owners at a housing complex in Dehu Road.

Mahavir Pawar, a resident of Balajinagar, who has yet to get the possession of his flat in the housing complex constructed by the builders in Tilekagarnagar in Kondhwa, has lodged the police complaint.

Pawar told TOI it was not an easy task to lodge the complaint, adding that it was registered only after the intervention of state director-general of police Praveen Dixit.

Pawar had booked the flat in July 2010. The builders had promised to give the possession of the flat in July 2011. "I have paid the cost of the flat of Rs 19.27 lakh to the builder. For the last five years, I have been waiting to get possession of my flat," Pawar said.

Pawar said that he had sold his flat in Balajinagar and also obtained loan from a bank for the flat. "I am paying heavy EMIs and rent of the flat where I am currently stayingToday I have become literally homeless," he said.

He added that some residents have taken the possession of their apartments in the complex. "But the builders are harassing them too. They have sent notices to the residents for extra Rs 1.5 lakh and the charges for water tankers and other things," Pawar said.

Pawar said the if any one wants to take the possession, the builders forced them to sign the supplementary agreement. "They were asked to sign the agreement inside the office and were not allowed to take the agreement outside," Pawar alleged.

He said that when he booked the flat, the name of the scheme was different.

Suddenly, the builders changed the name. "Now everyone is facing difficulties while paying EMIs and tax," Pawar said.

Satish Govekar, senior inspector of the Kondhwa police station, said the police registered the offence under MOFA on Saturday.

"We have began a probe," Govekar added.

Monday, 22 August 2016

‘Can’t deny tax relief to buyer if builder delays flat delivery’

There is no capital gains tax if the purchase price of the residential house in which the reinvestment is made exceeds the sale proceeds.

MUMBAI: The Mumbai bench of the Income-Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) has held that a taxpayer cannot be denied investment-related tax benefits if due to a builder's fault the taxpayer does not get timely possession of a house in which the reinvestment was made.

The Income-Tax Act provides for benefits relating to capital gains tax, where sale proceeds of any asset other than a house (section 54F) or sale proceeds of a house (section 54) are reinvested in a residential house property in India.

There is no capital gains tax if the purchase price of the residential house in which the reinvestment is made exceeds the sale proceeds. In other cases, the capital gains, and thus the tax outgo, is proportionately reduced.

There are conditions to be eligible for such tax-breaks. The original asset (or house) that has been sold must have been held by the taxpayer for more than three years (long-term capital asset). Also, the residential house property in which money is being reinvested has to be purchased within the specified period.

At times, the house is not available for possession within the agreed time. Projects get stalled as builders have not got permission or have run out of funds. This is common in Mumbai, Noida and Gurgaon, and results in the buyer losing tax benefits.

Kanu Chokshi, managing partner at Chokshi & Chokshi, a firm of chartered accountants, said, "This judgement will help taxpayers claim exemption under sections 54F and 54, even where agreements are not executed with the builder and investment is made against an allotment letter, provided that the reinvestment is made within the stipulated time."

Rajeev B Shah had filed an appeal with ITAT, which adjudicates I-T disputes, as his claim under section 54F was rejected by the authorities during tax assessment. The I-T authorities said the residential flat in which the reinvestment was made was incomplete and the registration document was not filed by the taxpayer.

Section 54F requires that reinvestment in the residential house property, by way of purchase, subsequent to the sale of the original asset, must be within two years.

Shah had sold a plot in Rajkot, Gujarat, and reinvested in a residential flat which was under construction in La Citadel, being developed by Seth Developers and Poonam Builders.

Shah appealed to ITAT that the builder had been avoiding customers due to disputes and the project was stalled. He had also filed a civil suit against the builder and the matter was pending in the Bombay high court.

ITAT, in its order of July 8, ruled in favour of Shah and held that "the intention of the taxpayer is very clear, he has invested almost the entire sale consideration of land towards purchase of this residential flat. It is almost impossible for the taxpayer to complete other formalities, such as taking over possession for getting the flat registered in his name. This cannot be the reason for denying the taxpayer's claim for tax benefit."

Friday, 19 August 2016

How Mumbai's landlords made their fortune

It's the story of Bombay and Mumbai. As the city got divided into those who made fortunes and the rest who were still renting, the realty landscape too underwent an overhaul.
It is almost two decades, post liberalisation since the Indian property boom story began. Since 1996, average house prices have risen by almost 300 percent across Maharashtra, while in Mumbai alone, the figure is close to 600 percent, according to House Price Index. Such enormous increase in prices have definitely benefited the buy-to-let landlords, who have earned returns of at least Rs 20,000 for each Rs 1000 they invested 20 years ago.

Yet, it remains a fact that very few of the people who had invested into properties years ago would have analysed the huge financial impact their decisions would have on their future. We spoke to some of those people who purchased their property; rented those out and then looked at re-investing once again. This is also a tale of Bombay and Mumbai, where some have made a million bucks, while some regretted their decisions made years ago.

In 1996, 64-year-old Meera Rao, a city-based professor invested into a three-BHK apartment in Lokhandwala, Andheri for around Rs 30 lakh. She and her husband paid for it partly by cash and bankloan. After a couple of years, they moved to the US. Meanwhile, they rented the flat out for Rs 25,000 per month. 

After a five-year stint in the US, they returned to the same apartment. The apartment is now worth Rs 2.5 crore. "It's really amazing, the way prices have multiplied over the years. We started off our first stage of investment, with a Rs five-lakh down-payment. We managed the rest with our savings and loan. And now several years down the line, we realise that was the best decision we had taken," says Rao. 

In 1996, 42-year-old Jay Bhatia, an advocate with Bombay High Court invested into a land in Vashi. He paid around Rs four lakh for the same from internal funding. In a few years, he was moving overseas with his family for a work opportunity. In around 2007, he sold off the land for Rs 3 crore. "We didn't think so much then. Selling it seemed wise. I regret it today because the same land is now worth around Rs 10 crore!" says Bhatia.

Experts feel any kind of gain or loss is also notional and not absolute. "People who sold off any property midway at a seemingly lesser price have still received a significant appreciation in value. They might have needed that money at that point of time. And any high price appreciation, post that, does not really matter to them," says Pankaj Renjhen, MD (retail services) of Jones Lang La Salle.

In 1996, 62-year-old Rajesh Goswami, an ex-banker bought a small 1-BHK apartment in the heart of Malabar Hill for around Rs 75 lakh, which is now worth Rs three crore. 

"Mumbai is full of discerning customers who totally know when to invest and where to invest. The economy back in the mid-90s was different from what it is now. Hence, people who invested into property back in 1996 and never sold off are now definitely sitting on a goldmine," says Boman Irani, chairman, Rustomjee Group. Bombay has essentially transformed into Mumbai, over the years, and people, living here, completely vouch for it. And the tales of two completely distinct times have now merged as one single evolving reality.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Salman Khan building 100-acre holiday home in Mumbai's Gorai Beach

Salman Khan has started construction of a sprawling holiday home; plans to bring in his 51st birthday there.

Salman Khan has started construction of a sprawling holiday home; plans to bring in his 51st birthday there.

In 2008, Salman Khan had purchased a 100-acre property at Gorai beach. Eight years later, the actor is constructing a plush 5-BHK on the property with plans to make the sea-facing, picturesque bungalow his annual holiday home.

Visualise swaying palms, a huge iron gate to keep unwanted star-gazers and visitors out and inside, a sprawling, two storey farmhouse with a gymnasium, swimming pool and a viewing theatre. Behind the house there will be a dirt biking arena for the all terrain motorbikes the actor owns. Simultaneously, two other bungalows are also being built for famiy and guests on the same estate.

"Salman plans to construct farmhouses like these all over North-Eastern Maharashtra. He is extensively investing in property in Gorai and Manori and often goes there by boat from the jetty at Madh island. His real estate purchases in Gorai have sparked interest of other Bollywood celebs who are looking at investing in islands located on the Salsette and Bhet coastal regions," a source close to the development informed Mirror.

Last year, Salman hosted a lavish birthday bash at his 150-acre property in Panvel where he often stays. This year, with him making public appearances with Romanian modelgirlfriend Iulia Vantur, rumour mills have been buzzing about the actor tying the knot this December. We don't know if there's any smoke to the buzz but according to the source, Sallu will ring in his 51st birthday with pomp, cake and a sunset on the beach at his Gorai farmhouse.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Relieved at HC verdict, 5000 Noida Sector 107 homebuyers wait for SC hearing

In an affidavit, the Noida Authority had agreed to increase its compensation by 64.7% and 10% land to its legal opponent Maharishi Vidyalaya.

NOIDA: Nearly 5,000 homebuyers in Noida's Sector 107 are a relieved lot after the Allahabad high court disposed of all petitions against the land acquisition in Salarpur village, on which the Sector 107 project stands.

In an affidavit, the Noida Authority had agreed to increase its compensation by 64.7% and 10% land to its legal opponent Maharishi Vidyalaya. The case was then withdrawn and nullified by Maharishi Vidyalaya, the trust that had challenged the acquisition. The Allahabad high court was hearing a review petition against the acquisition, sent by the SC.

However, the high court is yet to give a written order. The hearing in a parallel case for the same land will be held in the Supreme Court on July 19, following which the issue is expected to be fully resolved.

"In view of the order passed on July 11, 2016, the construction of flats can now be completed by the builders and possession can be handed over to allottees," said Manish Goel, counsel for the buyers in the high court.

"We are relieved. At least now, the houses can be completed and handed over. It has been a long-drawn struggle. This is a success for buyers," Puneet Parashar, a Sector 107 homebuyer, who has been leading the movement from the front, said.

The homebuyers had over the last few years staged dharnas, blocked roads, held demonstrations and even ran a social media campaign to draw attention to their problem. The litigation has been running parallel in the Supreme Court and the Allahabad high court.

Arun Kalra, another representative of the Sector 107 homebuyers' group, said all the buyers were relieved that now the project was out of the ambit of lawsuits.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Realty firm ATS gets GDA notice after ‘elevated structure’ collapse

The civic agency has asked the builder to get an audit done of all elevated structures on the premises of the housing society by an expert team from IIT and file a report within a week.

GHAZIABAD: The Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) has issued a notice to the builder of ATS Advantage following the collapse of a portion of an 'elevated structure', meaning a protruding structure or a small balcony in which a slab is supported by iron bars on both sides.

A part of the elevated structure fell from the 24th floor of one of the 23 towers in the housing society in Indirapuram's Ahmisa Khand 1 on Sunday. The civic agency has asked the builder to get an audit done of all elevated structures on the premises of the housing society by an expert team from IIT and file a report within a week.

Y N Chowdhary, assistant engineer, GDA enforcement wing, told TOI that a portion of the elevated structure had fallen from the 24th floor of Tower No. 18 on Sunday. "Though no one was injured in the accident, the residents filed a complaint with the GDA," Chowdhary said, adding, "The very next day our team inspected all 23 towers and found technical faults with the elevated structure following which a notice was issued to the builder."

According to the notice, ATS Builder has been asked to carry out maintenance work as the elevated structure angle in the different towers has partially rusted. "We have asked the builder to get the technical fault rectified and seek the assistance of an expert committee from IIT and file a report within one week," Chowdhary said.

When contacted, Anand Gitambar, CMD, ATS Builder, told TOI that it was a minor incident wherein a portion of the elevated structure gave way and, in keeping with the directive of the GDA, an audit of all 23 towers in the society has been done. "We will follow the GDA's direction, get rid of the technical fault with the structures and file a reply shortly," Gitambar said.

Ashok Kumar, president, ATS Advantage AOA, told TOI that the structure giving way like this was a serious issue and after Sunday's incident residents panicked that a recurrence of the collapse could result in a human casualty. "So, as a precautionary measure a complaint was filed with the GDA which inspected the towers and did find technical faults with the structures," Kumar said.

Close to 6,000 residents live in ATS Advantage's 23 towers that have 24 storys each.

Monday, 8 August 2016

TOD policy doesn’t favour builders: DDA

DDA clarified that the provisions were in the government’s favour and, in no way, did they support the builder lobby.

NEW DELHI: A day after PWD minister Satyendar Jain alleged that the Delhi Development Authority had modified the Transit Oriented Development policy to benefit private builders, the DDA on Wednesday said the provisions had been "misunderstood".

In a press statement, DDA clarified that the provisions were in the government's favour and, in no way, did they support the builder lobby.

Under the clause related to public and semi-public plots, the revised policy states that the development control norms shall be as per the "use premises prescribed in lease conditions". The DDA statement clarified: "This condition has been proposed specifically for facility plots and plots allotted for transportation and public and semi-public use. If (the) lease conditions are not imposed, then private allottees who have been allotted land by the DDA or L&DO on concessional rates in the past shall change the use of the premises and get windfall gains and, at the same time, the facilities will get reduced."

The DDA said the proposed FAR of 400 was applicable to all plots in the TOD zone, irrespective of the land-use. It said: "In the last 60 years, a large number of plots have been allotted to non-government organisations under public and semi-public facility at concessional rates to provide basic services . Since such non-government bodies cannot be allowed windfall gain by diverting public/semi-public facility plots from public domain to residential, commercial, industrial and mixed-use in the private domain, TOD regulations have been explicitly included."

Friday, 5 August 2016

Godrej Properties to get Rs 300 crore investment from parent firm

The company will be seeking approval from its shareholders at the upcoming AGM on August 11 for the same.

NEW DELHI: Godrej Industries plans to invest Rs 600 crore in its two group companies - Godrej Properties and Godrej Agrovet - through subscription/purchase of shares.

The company will be seeking approval from its shareholders at the upcoming AGM on August 11 for the same.

"The company proposes to invest in its subsidiaries, Godrej Properties Ltd (GPL) and Godrej Agrovet Ltd (GAVL) up to an amount of Rs 300 crore, each, as it considers it to be a good investment opportunity," Godrej Industries said in a letter to shareholders.

While GPL is into real estate development and GAVL is an agri-business company.

Godrej Industries' current investment in GPL is Rs 726.78 crore holding 56.73 per cent stake, while in GAVL it has invested Rs 143.98 crore with a shareholding of 60.81 per cent.

The company is also seeking approval from its shareholders to enable it to "acquire by way of subscription, purchase or otherwise, the securities of GPL and GAVL, exceeding 60 per cent of its paid-up share capital, free reserves and securities premium account or 100 per cent of its free reserves and securities premium account, whichever is more."

Besides, Godrej Industries is also seeking approval for "reappointment and terms of remuneration of N B Godrej as Managing Director of the company, for a period of three years from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2020".

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Broker held for land deal with fake papers

Pune: A real estate agent was arrested on Tuesday night for allegedly forging documents to sell off an acre of land belonging to the wife of a retired customs officer.

A magisterial court on Wednesday sent the real estate agent, Pradeep Gulabrao Deotale (33), in police remand till July 16. Deotale from Dhanoriis the fourth person arrested in the case.

Police had earlier arrested real estate agent Ajit Kataria, also from Dhanori, and impersonators Karamjeet Labsingh Kaur and her son Gurmeet from Jabalpur.

Senior inspector Khanderao Khaire, the Market Yard police station incharge, on Wednesday said Karamjeet Kaur Harnik Singh, the wife of a retired assistant commissioner of customs department residing in Navi Mumbai at present, had purchased the one acre land for Rs 40,000 in 1980s. But her registration documents were lying in the office of the sub-registrar concerned since then.

Khaire said real estate agent Kataria had obtained documents of Kaur's property from the sub-registrar's office, gave its photocopy to Deotale and allegedly conspired with him for selling the land to a prospective buyer.

He said Deotale brought an impersonator from Jabalpur, whose name was alsoKaramjeet Kaur, and her son and allegedly sold the land for Rs 1.6 crore to businessman Shrenik Khabia from Ahmednagar in 2013.

The fraud came to light after the original land owner obtained 7/12 extract in 2015 and found the land was sold to Khabia. She subsequently registered a complaint of cheating and forgery with police on May 30, 2015.

Joint commissioner of police Sunil Ramanand said investigations revealed that Khabia had paid money by cheque to the impersonator, Kaur, who in turn had transferred Rs 40 lakh in the bank account of Deotale.

Ramanand told TOI Deotale was arrested in New Delhi following a tip-off and brought to Pune for investigations. Since businessman Khabia is in possession of the property now, the original land owner would have to move the revenue department for cancelling the sale deed to claim its possession.

The incident is tip of an iceberg because a racket of middlemen involved in producing impersonators for original land owners whose property documents were lying in sub-registrars' office was active in Pune, he added.