NEW DELHI: The income-tax department has widened its search and survey operations across the country and has instructed its officials to clamp down on people having benami properties and question those found depositing banned currency notes in banks in big numbers without known sources of income.
The I-T department’s directorate of criminal investigation has a wealth of information, including names of front entities of hundreds of high net worth individuals who, over the years, have laundered illicit wealth by investing in movable and immovable assets. Their transactions have been monitored by I-T intelligence for a long time and the agency will crack down on those who have acquired assets beyond known sources of income.
The newly enforced Benami Property Transactions Act carries a penalty and imprisonment of up to seven years. The I-T department is responsible for enforcing the Act and attachment of properties under it. Citing official sources, PTI reported that the I-T department had detected over Rs 200 crore in undisclosed income after it conducted over 80 surveys and 30 searches in suspicious transactions after the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
Under the Benami Property Transactions Act, a taxman can confiscate and prosecute both the depositor and the person whose illegal money he or she has “adjusted“ in their account. The Central Board of Direct Taxes has asked I-T officials to closely monitor all such transactions. All such cases can be prosecuted under the aforementioned Act.
“The person who deposits old currency in the bank account shall be treated as beneficial owner and the person in whose bank account it has been deposited shall be categorised under this law as a benamidar,“ a senior official said.
Credits ET Realty