Benami properties of Rs 43 bn attached; Jaipur and Mumbai top the list


Benami properties of Rs 43 bn attached; Jaipur and Mumbai top the list


The income-tax (I-T) department has attached over 1,500 unaccounted properties worth Rs 43 billion across the country within one and a half years of the introduction of the revised benami legislation. Jaipur and Mumbai top the list, with attachments of 200 properties each.

Patna has seen the least number of attachments at 30, followed by Lucknow at 50, while in Kolkata, Chandigarh, and Hyderabad, 144, 110, and 100 properties got attached, respectively, says a finance ministry official. “The has worked swiftly in identifying benamitransactions since the enactment of the revised legislation. Over 1,500 properties have been attached so far. Many are on the radar. Search and surveys are on involving gold dealers, bankers, hawala operators, senior government officials, and politicians, etc,” said another official.

In one case in Jabalpur, a driver was found to be the benamidar. He owned land worth Rs 77 million. The beneficial owner is the employer of the driver, a Madhya Pradesh-based listed company.

In Mumbai, a professional was found to be holding several immovable properties in the name of which exist only on paper.

In another case in Sanganer, Rajasthan, a jeweller was found to be the beneficial owner of nine immovable properties in the name of his former employee, a man of no means. Certain properties purchased through have also been attached.

The large volume of cases has prompted the department to fast-track setting up of a dedicated adjudicating authority under the Benami Property Transactions Act for swifter passing of orders. 

Currently, benamicases are being adjudicated by an authority set up under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). An order needs to be passed within one year of attachment of property, else it lapses.