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More than 900 properties worth about Rs 35 billion have been attached under the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, which came into force on November 1, 2016. The attached properties included immovable assets like land, flats and shops worth Rs 29 billion, while jewellery, vehicles and bank deposits constituted the rest, the income-tax (I-T) department said on Thursday. The Act provides for provisional attachment and subsequent confiscation of benami properties — movable or immovable. It also allows prosecution of the beneficiary of such properties and the abettor to benami transactions, which may result in rigorous imprisonment up to seven years and a fine of up to 25 per cent of the fair market value of the property. The I-T department 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. In five cases, provisional attachments of benami properties totalling Rs 1,500 million have been confirmed by the adjudicating authority, it said in a statement.
In one such case, it was established that a real estate company had acquired about 50 acres of land, valued at more than Rs 1,100 million, 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, after demonetisation, two assessees were found depositing demonetised currency into multiple bank accounts in the names of their employees, associates etc to be ultimately remitted to their bank accounts. The total amount attempted to be remitted to the owners was about Rs 390 million. In yet another case, a cash amount of Rs 11.1 million 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.
With inputs from PTI