Income Tax department steps-up actions under Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act
GN Bureau | January 11, 2018
Provisional attachment has been made by the Income Tax department in more than 900 cases of properties under the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, which came into force November 1, 2016.
These attachments include plots of land, flats, shops, jewellery, vehicles, deposits in bank accounts and fixed deposits. The value of properties under attachment is more than Rs. 3,500 crore, including immovable properties of more than Rs. 2,900 crore, said a press release.
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 of land, 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, 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, cash of Rs. 1.11 crore was intercepted from a vehicle with a person who denied the ownership of the cash. Subsequently, no one claimed ownership of the cash and it was held to be benami property.
Earlier, the income tax department had stepped-up actions under the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, which provides for provisional attachment and subsequent confiscation of benami properties.
It also allows for prosecution, which may result in rigorous imprisonment up to 7 years and fine upto 25 percent of fair market value of the property.
The department had set-up 24 dedicated Benami Prohibition Units under its investigation directorates all over India in May, 2017 to ensure swift action in respect of benami properties.
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