The BMC, in a desperate bid to recover Rs 9.42 crore, owed as property tax by fugitive economic offender Nirav Modi, has written to the Enforcement Directorate asking to be paid as soon as the agency auctions the fugitive diamantaire’s three commercial properties.
A senior civic official said that BMC has the first claim on the proceeds from the auction of Modi’s properties. Property tax dues are public dues, he said, adding that the corporation has written to ED Joint Director Satyavrat Kumar for a payout.
One of Modi’s properties is an office space in Lower Parel’s Peninsula Corporate Park for which dues amount to Rs 5.14 crore. On Wednesday, BMC attached the property, which the ED had already taken over.
“We have attached the property as per the BMC rule and after following due procedure,” said Sharad Ughade, assistant municipal commissioner, G-South Ward.
The other two commercial properties are located in Kurla and BKC.
The Bombay High Court on Wednesday had refused to stay the auction of several valuable paintings and luxury items seized by the ED from Modi’s residence. The auction for paintings is scheduled on Thursday.
To meet the target of this financial year, the BMC has started taking strict action against property tax defaulters. Last week, the civic body seized two helicopters owned by an airline and disconnected the water supply of the Wadhwa Trade Centre in Kalina.
Officials also disconnected the water supply of several residential societies across the city, including in Sion, Matunga, Bandra, Andheri and Versova, and said they would intensify the drive in the coming weeks.
The civic body also attached a high-end car owned by Ms Popatbhai Jamal in Prabhadevi on Wednesday to recover outstanding property tax of Rs 1.75 crore.
Last week, the BMC started an awareness drive with drums being beaten in front of residential and commercial premises to remind citizens to pay their taxes. Officials used loudhailers to announce that defaulters would face severe action, including seizure of household items and property and disconnection of utilities.
Around Rs 1,387 crore had been collected in property tax till November 30, 2019, which was just 25 per cent of the total Rs 5,016-crore target for 2019-2020. BMC officials said that till March 4, they have recovered Rs 80 crore per day and had collected Rs 3,500 crore.