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Posted at: Jan 12, 2018, 12:59 AM; last updated: Jan 12, 2018, 12:59 AM (IST)

I-T crackdown on benami properties

Assets worth Rs 3,500 crore attached

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 11

The Income Tax Department has made provisional attachment in more than 900 cases of properties under the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act which came into force from November last year.

These attachments include plots of land, flats, shops, jewellery, vehicles, deposits in bank accounts and fixed deposits among others.

The value of properties under attachment is more than Rs 3,500 crore, including immovable properties of more than Rs 2,900 crore, according to a Finance Ministry statement.

The Income Tax Department had stepped up actions under the Benami Act. 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 7 years and fine up to 25% of fair market value of the property.

The Department had set up 24 dedicated Benami Prohibition Units (BPUs) under its Investigation Directorates all over India in May last year to ensure swift action in respect of benami properties.

“The Income tax Department is committed to continue its concerted drive against black money and action against benami transactions will continue to be intensified”, the statement said.

Giving details of the attachments, the Income tax Department said 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 such case, it was established that a real estate company had acquired about 50 acres, valued at more than Rs 110 crore, using the names of certain persons of no means as benamidars. 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 and associates 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.


Provisional attachment in 900 cases 

  • Provisional attachment has been made in over 900 cases of properties. These include plots of land, flats, shops, jewellery, vehicles, deposits in bank accounts, fixed deposits etc
  • The Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions 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 7 years and a fine of up to 25% of fair market value of the property.

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