Confiscated Benami Assets Worth Rs 6,900 Cr: I-T Dept

NEW DELHI — The Income Tax Department has confiscated assets worth Rs 6,900 crore till now as part of its action under the anti-benami transactions law, the agency said in a public advertisement today.

The message issued in dealing dailies said people who “abet and induce” benami transactions, benamidar (in whose name benami property is standing) and beneficiaries (who pay money consideration) are prosecutable and may face rigorous imprisonment up to 7 years besides being liable to pay fine up to 25 per cent of fair market value of benami property.

“The Income Tax Department has already attached and confiscated benami properties worth more than Rs 6,900 crore,” the message said. The message added that people who furnish false information to authorities under the law– Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 2016 are prosecutable and may be imprisoned up to 5 years besides being liable to pay fine up to 10 percent of fair market value of benami property.

“We urge every conscientious citizen to help the government in eradicating it,” the message added. Action under the new law will be in addition to the I-T Act, 1961, it added. A benami transaction is an arrangement in which a property (movable or immovable) is transferred to or held in the name of one person (benamidar) but is actually owned and enjoyed by another person (beneficial owner).

The tax department started initiating action under this law, implemented by the Modi government, from November 1, 2016. The I-T Department is the nodal department to enforce the anti-benami law in the country.

Relief For Shah Rukh Khan In Alibaug Benami Property Case

Actor Shah Rukh Khan has been absolved of the charge of being a beneficiary of a benami property in the scenic beach town of Alibaug in Maharashtra as an appellate authority under the law has “revoked” the attachment order of the I-T Department, calling it baseless and coloured.

The Adjudicating Authority (AA) slammed the income tax department authority for issuing the order against Khan and a company—in which he, his wife Gauri Khan and in-laws are shareholders—in February last year, saying a “commerical transaction entered into course of business by an independent entity cannot be coloured as benami transaction because it had sourced the funds from loans.”

A division bench of the AA comprising D Singhai (Chairperson) and Member (Law) Tushar V Shah exonerated Khan and said: “We have come to the conclusion that the named properties, ie, agriculture land at village Thal, Taluka Alibaug bearing survey nos 188/A, 188/1B, 188/2, 188/3, 188/4, 187/1 and structure thereon are not a benami property and hence the attachment made thereof by the investigating officer is revoked hereby.”

The tax department had attached the farm house and plot, built on an agricultural land, in Alibaug, worth about Rs 15 crore, and had called the company-Ms Deja Vu Farms Pvt Ltd- a benamidar (in whose name benami property is standing) and the 53-year-old actor a beneficiary (who pays money consideration) of a benami deal booked under the Prohibition of Benami Property Transaction Act.

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