- Published: Friday, 12 January 2018 12:02
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The act provides for provisional attachment and subsequent confiscation of benami properties, whether movable or immovable. It also allows for prosecution of the beneficial owner, the benamidar and the abettor to benami transactions, which may result in rigorous imprisonment up to seven years and fine up to 25 per cent of fair market value of the property.
The tax department had set up 24 dedicated benami prohibition units (BPUs) under its investigation directorates across the country in May to ensure swift action.
Due to intensive efforts undertaken by the department, provisional attachment has been made in more than 900 cases of properties under the act. These include plots of land, flats, shops, jewellery, vehicles, deposits in bank accounts, fixed deposits, the tax department said in a statement.
The new law has sent shivers down the spine of those who hold benami properties and the tough law is part of the government's stringent action against unaccounted wealth. During the campaign for the Gujarat assembly polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had hinted at a crackdown against benami properties.
In five cases, the provisional attachments of benami properties, amounting to more than Rs 150 crore have been confirmed by the adjudicating authority.
In one case, it was established that a real estate company had acquired about 50 acres of land, valued at more than Rs 110 crore, using the names of certain people of no means as benamidars, the statement said.
This was corroborated from the sellers of the land as well as the brokers involved. In another case, post demonetisation, two assessees were found depositing demonetised currency into multiple bank accounts in the names of their employees, associates etc. to be ultimately remitted to their bank accounts.
The total amount attempted to be remitted to the beneficial owners was about Rs 39 crore.
In yet another case, a cash amount of Rs 1.11 crore was intercepted from a vehicle with a person who denied the ownership of this cash. Subsequently, no one claimed ownership of this cash and it was held to be benami property by the adjudicating authority, the tax department said.
"The department is committed to continue its concerted drive against black money and action against benami transactions will continue to be intensified," it added.
(Source: The Times Of India)