Kochi: A tax evasion amounting to Rs. 70 crores has came to light in the registration of flats across the state during the last five years. The amount was rigged by devaluing the price in the title deeds.
The scam was found out after the state Registration Department examined the documents related to flat registrations during 2015 to 2019. The department has initiated steps to recover the loss.
The department conducted the examination of the flat registrations in the state during the last five years after huge irregularities were exposed, with regard to the registration of demolished flats in Maradu, Kochi. In the preliminary examination, it was found that several flats were registered in the title deeds at a lower price. Hence, the Registration Department decided to collect data of all flats registered at a price less than Rs. 1,500 per square feet.
An investigation found that there were 9,810 flats across various districts registered at devalued price. Of these, some flats are registered with a price even lower than Rs 500 per square feet. The government had employed engineers as valuators to curb tax evasion through registration of flats through devalued pricing. A certificate from the valuators was made mandatory for registration. However, it is found that there were irregularities in the certificates provided by the valuators too.
Alexander, IG of the Registration Department, told Madhyamam that the department has initiated steps, including serving notices to the flat owners, to recover the losses. Notices are being issued to district registrars. Actions will be taken to avoid recurrence of the scam. The removal of valuators who colluded in the irregularity is also being contemplated.
The department will also examine if such evasion was involved in the registration of commercial buildings and luxury homes.