As per the Income Tax Department sources, the department has so far impounded assets worth ₹6,900 crore in pursuant to the anti-benami transactions law. The department, through a public advertisement, has informed about the worth of assets confiscated by them.
Benami properties are those assets which are bought by an individual, not under his or her name. It can include properties which are held in the name of spouse, child or any other family members, for which the amount is paid out of known sources of income.
The advertisement published in the leading newspapers warned people against “abetting and inducing” benami transactions, being party to the illicit transaction by being a Benamidar (in whose name benami property is standing) and beneficiaries (who pay money consideration). According to the advertisement, being involved in benami transaction can result in rigorous imprisonment up to 7 years apart from being liable to pay fine up to 25 per cent of fair market value of benami property.
Some time back, the government cracked a whip on more than 16,500 shell companies and has put another 80,000 companies under the scanner and has also introduced a reward scheme to clamp down on benami properties.
Ever since the Modi government is in the saddle, there has been a fierce clampdown against the benami property holders. The anti-benami transactions law was legislated in 1988 was amended by the present government to provide more teeth to fight against illicit transactions and black money. The new law seeks to prohibit the benami transaction irrespective of the method by which such property, movable and immovable, which can be then acquired.