Benami assets: I-T books 230 cases, attaches assets worth Rs 55 crores

[] The Income Tax department has registered over 230 cases and attached assets worth Rs 55 crores nationwide, as part of its post demonetisation action under the newly enforced Benami Transactions Act

A total of 235 cases and instances have been registered under the Benami Transactions Act, by the Income Tax (I-T) department till mid-February, according to a report.

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“Show-cause notices for attachment have been issued in 140 cases, where benami assets worth Rs 200 crores are involved. In 124 cases, benami assets worth more than Rs 55 crores have been provisionally attached till now,” the I-T report, accessed by PTI, said. The attached assets, officials said, include deposits in bank accounts, agricultural and other land, flats and jewellery, among others.

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Violations of the Act, made operational from November 1, 2016, attract a heavy penalty and rigorous jail term up to seven years. Post demonetisation on November 8, 2016, the I-T department had carried out public advertisements and had warned people against depositing their unaccounted old currency in someone else’s bank account. Such an act, it had said, would attract criminal charges under the Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988, applicable on both movable and immovable property.

The I-T department is the nodal department to enforce the said Act in the country.

The decision to slap the stringent provisions of the Benami Transactions Act is being taken after analysing serious cases, where the illegalities were blatant and suspect cash was deposited in either benami accounts or Jan Dhan or dormant accounts, an official said.

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[] Income Tax department issues 87 notices, attaches 42 assets worth crores under Benami Act

The taxman had initiated a nationwide operation to identify suspect bank accounts where huge cash deposits have been made post November 8, when the government demonetised the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes. Officials said the Act empowers the taxman to confiscate and prosecute both the depositor and the person whose illegal money he or she has adjusted in their account.

“Such an arrangement, where a person deposits old currency of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 in the bank account of another person, with an understanding that the account holder shall return his money in new currency, the transaction shall be regarded as a benami transaction, under the said Act. The person who deposits old currency in the bank account shall be treated as beneficial owner and the person in whose bank account the old currency has been deposited shall be categorised under this law as a benamidar,” a senior tax department official had explained earlier.

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Category: Lifestyle

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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