New Delhi: Over 9,400 ‘enemy’ properties, worth more than Rs 1 lakh crore, are set to be auctioned with the home ministry starting the process of identifying all such estates, officials said. The properties were left behind by people who took citizenship of Pakistan and China.
The move came after the amendment of the 49-year-old Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Act which ensured that the heirs of those who migrated to Pakistan and China during Partition and afterwards will have no claim over the properties left behind in India.
At a recent meeting, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh was informed that the survey of 6,289 enemy properties has been completed and that of the remaining 2,991 properties which are vested with the custodian will be completed, a home ministry official said.
Singh directed that those properties which are free from encumbrance should be disposed of quickly for monetisation.
The estimated value of these 9,400 properties is around Rs 1 lakh crore and when they are sold off, it would be a huge windfall for the government, another official said.
Similar properties in Pakistan belonging to Indians have already been disposed of.
Nodal officers are being appointed by state governments to coordinate identification, vesting and valuation of enemy properties, the official said.
Among the 9,280 properties left behind by Pakistani nationals, the highest 4,991 properties are located in Uttar Pradesh followed by West Bengal which has 2,735 such estates. There are 487 such properties in Delhi.
According to the new Act, ‘enemy property’ refers to any property belonging to, held or managed on behalf of an enemy, an enemy subject or an enemy firm.
The government has vested these properties in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India, an office instituted under the central government.
After the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965, the Enemy Property Act was enacted in 1968, which regulates such properties and lists the custodian’s powers.
The government amended the Act in the wake of a claim laid by the heirs of Raja Mohammad Amir Mohammad Khan, known as Raja of Mahmudabad, on his properties spread across Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.