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Blow to Tamil Nadu government: 100 acres, stone quarry of health minister frozen

The state registration department has frozen 100 acres of land and a stone quarry belonging to state health minister C Vijaya Baskar and his family members in Thiruvengaivasal,Pudukottai district.

Vijaya Baskar was camping in New Delhi and lobbying for exemption for Tamil Nadu students from NEET by meeting Union home minister Rajnath Singh and health minister J P Nadda when a sub-registrar in Pudukottai district resorted to the unusual step of freezing his assets following an order from the income tax department.

The IT raids conducted on the premises of Minister ,his relatives and associates during the run up to the R K Nagar by-election, which was countermanded based on reports of large-scale voter bribing.

Despite the freeze on the assets, the ownership continues to remain with the minister and his family members and the action is neither confiscation nor seizure.

The owners, however, are debarred from leasing, renting, mortgaging or selling the properties, till the I-T probe is over.

The minister has been accused of misusing the stone quarry at Thiruvengaivasal.

“We have found that the minister and his family members who own Rasi Blue Metal quarry at Thiruvengaivasal had mined beyond the permissible limits. We engaged officials from the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) and used drones to check the depth of the quarry,” a senior I-T official told.

“As per the amendments made to the powers of I-T officials in the 2017 Union budget, the income tax department investigation wing can order freezing of any property of an assesse, whose case is pending with us. We asked the local sub-registrar to freeze the two properties as both were important to the case and we had suspicion that they could be sold clandestinely,” the official said.

Under section 281-b of the I-T Act, a commissioner level I-T official has powers to order freezing of property, if he feels that the assessee may sell the property and proceeds even before the completion of assessment.

“The sub-registrar’s action is provisional attachment of the property and it has created an encumbrance for the owner. It is a black mark on the property,” said the official. 

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