NEW DELHI: Amid fears of illegal land grab and default on taxes, Congress, in a move aimed at securing its vast real estate spread across the country, has asked its state units to collect details of all properties belonging to the party.
The states units have been asked to designate a senior office-bearer as ‘incharge of properties’ who will collate details about the properties owned by Congress or on lease with the party, and the status of their property tax or lease amount. They have also been asked to find out details if there are title disputes in court or if there are instances of encroachment. AICC treasurer Pawan Bansal sent out two directives to the PCCs and state in-charges a fortnight ago, with demand for immediate action.
Given that Congress predates independence, and has vast holdings across states, down to districtand blocklevel offices, there is a concern that a big chunk of land parcels has been illegally grabbed, some by officebearers themselves or with their connivance.
As Congress faces serious political crisis as also financial crunch since being ousted from power in 2014, the idea of property consolidation too appears to have fallen victim to lack of focus. It was first thought of in 2015, while an office-bearer to oversee the process could be appointed only in 2020, just ahead of the pandemic.
Given its long history, Congress is seen as the biggest “landlord” in politics. Sources said in view of financial crunch, the land once identified can be developed for monetisation to help fund the political activities of state units. But for it to happen, the party has to settle property tax for the land it owns with the revenue departments and pay lease amounts for leased land. Sources said the party will intensify legal focus on ongoing court battles over ownership, and also move state authorities for eviction of squatters.
Realising that renewed focus on identification and consolidation of property may nudge the “in-house conspirators” to finalise their illegal deals, AICC treasurer Bansal has told the state units that “no Congress property should be sold or any rights transferred in any manner, to anyone, without the permission of the Congress president”.





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