Till date more than 400 Benami transactions have been unleashed by the income tax authorities pertaining to plot of lands, bank accounts, jewellery and flats. To tackle the issue, 24 dedicated Benami prohibition units have been set up by the apex direct taxes body, Central Board of Direct Taxes.
To initiate swift action, these units shall be guided by the investigation directors. 240 cases with market value of property more than Rs. 600 crores are under the provisional attachment of the properties. While in 40 cases with the market value of immovable properties of more than Rs. 530 crores have been attached. These immovable properties belong to cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Kolkata, Gujrat and Rajasthan.
There was one beneficial owner in Madhya Pradesh-based listed company who bought land worth Rs. 7.7 crore in the name of his driver. There were several sheel companies created which exist just on the papers and holding several immovable properties.
In another case in Sanganer, Rajasthan, A man with no means found holding nine immovable property to benefit his former employer. Similarly, certain number of properties were acquired through shell companies in Kolkata as well.
In November, Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act 2016 came into effect which covers tangible or intangible property, movable or immovable property. Corporeal or incorporeal property. It empowers the provisional attachment as well as subsequent confiscation of Benami properties. A rigorous up to 7 years and a fine up to 25% of the fair market value can be imposed in case of Benami transaction. Prosecution of the benamidar, beneficial owner as well as the abettor is also allowed under the act.