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Khobragade owns properties worth Rs 10 cr in Mah, Kerala, UP

Last updated on: December 26, 2013 17:02 IST

Khobragade owns properties worth Rs 10 cr in Mah, Kerala, UP

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K Raghavendra Kamath and Sanjay Jog and Aneesh Phadnis in Mumbai

Indian Foreign Service Officer Devyani Khobragade, at the centre of a huge diplomatic row after she was arrested recently by the US government for allegedly underpaying her maid and misrepresenting her salary, might well be a wealthy woman in her own right - she owns properties worth over Rs 10 crore in Maharashtra, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh.

In a February 2013 submission to the external affairs ministry, Khobragade had declared a total value of Rs 1.78 crore for the properties she owned. She had said some of those properties were inherited from her father.

Business Standard estimates, based on enquiries with local village leaders and realty brokers, however, suggest the current value of 11 properties she owns would be around Rs 10.22 crore (Rs 102.2 million).

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Photographs: Paresh Gandhi/Rediff.com

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Khobragade owns properties worth Rs 10 cr in Mah, Kerala, UP

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In her estimate, Khobragade had not valued three of her rural properties. Moneylife, an online news and opinion portal, in a separate report on her assets, has valued the properties at Rs 6 crore (Rs 60 million).

When Business Standard contacted Devyani's father, retired Indian Administrative Service officer Uttam Khobragade for his comments, he hung up and did not respond to calls and messages. An email sent to Devyani's advocate did not elicit any response.

The priciest real estate Khobragade owns is a 1,000-sq-ft apartment in the controversial Adarsh Co-Op Housing Society in Mumbai's prime Colaba area.

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Photographs: Paresh Gandhi/Rediff.com

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Khobragade owns properties worth Rs 10 cr in Mah, Kerala, UP

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In her submission to the government, she had said she acquired the Adarsh flat for Rs 90 lakh (Rs 9 million).

The present value of the apartment is pegged at around Rs 6.5 crore (Rs 65 million), given that property prices hover around Rs 55,000 to 75,000 per sq ft in the area, according to realty consultant Knight Frank.

But this market value of the Adarsh flat, property consultants say, could be only on paper, as it may be difficult to sell the property due to the controversy surrounding it.

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Photographs: Paresh Gandhi/Rediff.com

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Khobragade owns properties worth Rs 10 cr in Mah, Kerala, UP

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Adarsh has come under a cloud over flouting of norms related to coastal zones, permissible construction, and eligibility guidelines.

It has been alleged that many who were allotted apartments in the complex, meant for serving and retired army personnel, were ineligible to buy the properties.

According to a state government-appointed judicial inquiry, Khobragade is one of the 25 allottees found ineligible to own properties in the complex. The Maharashtra government, however, has rejected the commission's report.

According to Maharashtra government rules, an official applying for a flat under a government quota has to give a signed affidavit, saying he or she does not own any other flat.

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Photographs: Arghyaks/Wikimedia Commons
Tags: UP , Mah , Kerala

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Khobragade owns properties worth Rs 10 cr in Mah, Kerala, UP

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Devyani had an apartment in the city's Oshiwara locality - that, too, under government quota - according to a recent report by news agency PTI.

Devyani's father had denied any wrongdoing in the Adarsh scam. "We purchased the flat under the reserved quota after paying the correct price. Why should we return the flat," he told PTI.

In her statement to the government earlier this year, Khobragade said she owned three agricultural land parcels, inherited by her, in Chandrapur, Rathnagiri and Raigad districts of Maharashtra.

Though she has not assigned any current value to the plots, these could be worth around Rs 1.12 crore.

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Image: Uttam Khobragade, father of Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general in New York, speaks during a news conference in Mumbai.
Photographs: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

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Khobragade owns properties worth Rs 10 cr in Mah, Kerala, UP

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A large part of the 25 acres she owns in Chandrapur is ancestral but a portion has been acquired, locals say.

The 25 acres close to the Asula Mendha irrigation project is used to cultivate rice, soybean and toor dal.

Khobragade said her income from the Chandrapur land was Rs 25,000 a year - a low estimate, according to local people.

A non-agricultural plot measuring 5,000 sq ft in Alibaug that Khobragade had bought from the Maharashtra Housing Area Development Authority (MHADA) in 2006 was shown as worth Rs 10 lakh.

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Image: View from Alibag fort.
Photographs: Rakesh Ayilliath/Wikimedia Commons

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Khobragade owns properties worth Rs 10 cr in Mah, Kerala, UP

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According to Moneylife, her father was the chief executive officer (CEO) and vice-president of MHADA between 2000-02 and 2004-05. This plot could be worth over Rs 50 lakh (Rs 5 million) at the current market price.

Another 200-sq-m plot that Khobragade had bought in Greater Noida's Swarna Nagari after selling an Ansal property in Gurgaon was valued at Rs 20 lakh.

According to Saurav Sudan, a local broker in Greater Noida, the rates in the area are around Rs 40,000 per sq m. So, the current value of the property could be around Rs 80 lakh (Rs 8 million).

Khobragade also owns three land parcels in Kerala. These could have a total market value of Rs 85.76 lakh (Rs 857.6 million) on the basis of current property rates.

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Image: Sun rays beam through two under construction residential buildings in Noida.
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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In her statement, the total value of these three properties was Rs 21.35 lakh (Rs 213.5 million). The 4,263-sq-ft property she owns in Pallipuram on the outskirts of Kochi has a market value of Rs 39.20 lakh (Rs 392 million).

Khobragade used a local measurement unit, called cent, in her listing to the government. One cent is 435 sq ft and her submission said the property measured 9.805 cents.

Here, the average market price is Rs 400,000 a cent. In her submission, Khobragade estimated the value of this property at Rs 500,000.

Real estate sources say, her submission correctly recorded the current market value of two properties in Maharashtra - an 800-sq-ft flat in Pune district's Kondwa, valued at around Rs 25 lakh (Rs 2.5 million), and a 10,000-sq-ft plot in Raigad district's Vaibhavwadi, valued at Rs 500,000.

(With inputs from George Joseph in Kochi and Sahil Makkar in New Delhi)


Image: India's Deputy Consul General in New York, Devyani Khobragade, attends a Rutgers University event at India's Consulate General in New York.
Photographs: Mohammed Jaffer/Reuters

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