Rs 1.07 lakh crore assets of those left for Pak after wars in India

India holds assets worth Rs 1.07 lakh crore, including 11,882 acre of land, belonging to people who migrated to Pakistan after 1965 and 1971 wars but their legal heirs may not get ownership of these properties.

The report of the Rajya Sabha Select Committee on The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2015 has gone with the government position of not allowing legal heirs to acquire the properties despite objection of opposition MPs in the panel.

Six MPs of Congress, CPI, JD(U) and Samajwadi Party have submitted their joint dissent note on the report, saying Indian citizens should not deprived of their rights, including inheritance and succession.

According to the report, number of immoveable enemy properties belonging to Pakistani nationals is 9,280 comprising of 11,882 acres. The value of the total vested immoveable properties stands to the tune of Rs 1,04,340 crore.

Moveable vested properties consist of shares in 266 listed companies having valuation of Rs 2,610 crore, shares in 318 unlisted companies valued at Rs 24 crore, gold and jewellery Rs 38 lakh, bank balance of Rs 177.60 crore, investment in government securities of Rs 150 crore and investment in fixed deposits Rs 160.58 crore.

Besides this, there are 149 immovable enemy properties of Chinese nationals, spread over Karnataka, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi.

The number of enemy properties could increase as the government in the last two years have employed 108 surveyors and supervisors exclusively for this purpose, the Ministry told the panel.

Enemy properties are properties and companies left behind by people who took Pakistani nationality after 1965 and 1971 wars and taken over by government. The Tashkent Declaration on January 10, 1966 had said India and Pakistan would discuss the return of assets taken over by either side. However, Pakistan disposed of all such properties in their country in 1971 itself.

The NDA government came up with the amendment bill to correct the various judgements that adversely affected the powers of CEPI. The Supreme Court had in 2005 said the on the death of the enemy, the property devolves in succession and ceases to be enemy property.

** Govt believes amendment help them tide over previous adverse judgements.

** Dissenting MPs K Rahman Khan, P L Punia and Husain Dalwai (Congress), D Raja (CPI), K C Tyagi (JDU) and Javed Ali Khan (SP) say the Bill punishes Indians and will have no effect on any enemy government.

** If it becomes law, once an enemy property is vested in the custodian, it should continue to be vested in him as enemy property irrespective of whether the enemy, enemy subject or enemy firm has ceased to be an enemy due to  reasons such as death etc.

** Law of succession would not apply to enemy property and there cannot be transfer of any property vested in the custodian.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on May 7, 2016)


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