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I-T dept attaches benami properties worth ₹3,500 cr

New Delhi: The Income Tax Department (ITD) on Thursday said it had attached more than 900 benami properties including flats, shops, jewellery and vehicles worth over Rs 3,500 crore.
ITD said in a statement that it has stepped up action under the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, which came into force from November 1, 2016.
The Act provides for provisional attachment and subsequent confiscation of benami properties, whether movable or immovable.
It also allows for prosecution of the beneficial owner, the benamidar and the abettor to benami transactions, which may result in rigorous imprisonment up to 7 years and a fine of up to 25 percent of the fair market value of the property.
The department had set up 24 dedicated Benami Prohibition Units (BPUs) under its Investigation Directorates all over India in May 2017 to ensure swift action in respect of Benami properties.
"Due to intensive efforts undertaken by the Department, provisional attachment has been made in more than 900 cases of properties under the Act. These include plots of land, flats, shops, jewellery, vehicles, deposits in bank accounts, fixed deposits etc.," the statement said.
The value of properties under attachment is more than Rs 3,500 crore including immovable properties of more than Rs 2,900 crore, the department said.
ITD said that in five cases, the provisional attachments of Benami properties, amounting to more than Rs 150 crore had 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, it said without naming the firm.
This was corroborated by 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 and 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 another case, a cash amount of Rs 1.11 crore was intercepted from a vehicle with a person who denied the ownership of this cash.
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