NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to curb the parking of black money in real estate seems to have hit the bureaucratic wall, with bureaucrats and political entities trying their best to scuttle the linking of Aadhaar with immovable properties and thus prevent the cleaning up of the system. Lawyer and BJP leader, Ashwini Upadhyay, who has been pushing the government to link Aadhaar with immovable properties, was once again delayed after the Central government on Tuesday “sought more time” to file its response in the case.
Ever since Upadhyay filed a PIL in this matter in July 2019, this was for the fourth time that the Central government sought more time to give its response to the case, which means that the government, rather than suggesting how it intends to move ahead in the matter, has sought this “excuse” of “more time” four times in less than eight months.
Observers believe that this means that the multiple ministries concerned and bureaucrats in the Central government are trying their best to slow down Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s bold and necessary bid to curb corruption in real estate.
It is pertinent to mention that PM Modi, while speaking at an event in December 2017, had said that the government was going to link Aadhaar to every property in the country to weed out benami property holdings and to identify politicians and bureaucrats who had multiple undeclared properties. Experts believe that taking this one step will lead to the unearthing of massive corruption and their propagators.
When the case came up for hearing on 18 February (Tuesday), the Central government again sought more time, after which the court gave a new date of 1 April. So, in total, the Central government, so far, has sought new dates in this case four times now—first on 16 July, then on 15 October, then on 20 November and now the latest on 18 February.
The Delhi government, led by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), on the other hand, has told the court that it was ready to abide by the direction of the court, if it directed the linking of Aadhaar to properties. The Delhi government, however, only deals with mutation and maintenance of records of 131 rural villages. The rest of the property of the region is handled by the Union Urban Ministry and the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).
A retired High Court judge said: “The Central government, if it really wants to cub corruption, of which real estate is the biggest reservoir, should not delay (linking of Aadhaar to existing and new property) this any further. In my view, the Modi government is facing difficulties from two quarters—it is facing pressure from the immensely cash rich real estate lobby not to do this and, more importantly, elements, executive and legislative, within the government, are resisting this move as they themselves own several benami properties which they have not declared.”
Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, Upadhyay, who has been pursuing this case single-handedly, said: “Corruption is the root cause of problems like terrorism, Naxalism, separatism, smuggling, money laundering, kidnapping, bribing and dowry. It also inflates the price of essential commodities as well as other elements like real estate, gold etc. These problems can be curbed to a great extent by linking movable-immovable properties worth Rs 50,000 and above with the owner’s Aadhaar number,” he said.
The Sunday Guardian had reported in November last year (Babus, politicians don’t want Aadhaar linked to property, may hurt PM’s housing-for-all dream, 24 November) as to how the nexus between builders, politicians and bureaucrats was hurting PM Modi’s intent to ensure housing for all and removing corruption from real estate.