In a first, Income Tax department to charge govt official under new benami law

This is the first time that tax authorities are taking recourse to laws under the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016, to charge a serving government official and seize properties. The two SRA properties, sources said, were allegedly acquired by Rasal in 2013.

Written by Khushboo Narayan | Mumbai | Updated: July 11, 2017 9:00 am
benami law, Income tax benami law, IT Benami law, The I-T department has alleged that Vikas Rasal, CEO, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Iron and Steel Market Committee, acquired at least nine properties in Maharashtra, including two SRA properties in Bandra, using “closely related fronts” at a nominal price by “coercing certain slum dwellers”.

The investigation wing of the Income Tax (I-T) department in Mumbai is planning to charge a senior Maharashtra government official under a recently amended law for allegedly owning several benami properties, including two under the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA), sources told The Indian Express. This is the first time that tax authorities are taking recourse to laws under the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016, to charge a serving government official and seize properties.

The I-T department has alleged that Vikas Rasal, CEO, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Iron and Steel Market Committee, acquired at least nine properties in Maharashtra, including two SRA properties in Bandra, using “closely related fronts” at a nominal price by “coercing certain slum dwellers”.

The two SRA properties, sources said, were allegedly acquired by Rasal in 2013.

Sources said that the tax agency has found that Rasal, a provincial service officer with the state government, allegedly parked unaccounted money with jewellers and bullion traders at Vile Parle in Mumbai.

“The tax authority is also probing city-based bullion traders connected to Rasal. There is suspicion that a significant portion of this black money came from bribes. The agency has got hold of persons with whom Rasal parked his black money,” said sources.

On July 7, the tax department intercepted Rasal and seized over Rs 50 lakh from him at the Mumbai airport, while he was travelling from Delhi to Mumbai allegedly with undisclosed cash, said sources. The seizure was followed by raids at his office and residence in Mumbai, they said.

According to sources, the tax department has recovered at least Rs 65 lakh in cash, jewellery worth Rs 50 lakh and documents allegedly linked to several benami properties from the residence of Rasal.

The I-T department has alleged that Rasal amassed real estate in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Pune and Undale in Maharashtra using black money. Rasal was due for promotion to IAS cadre, said another source familiar with the probe.

Rasal’s mobile phone has been seized by the I-T department. When The Indian Express contacted Rasal’s family members, they declined to comment on the probe. “Neither Rasal nor we want to comment on the issue,” said a family member.

Violations of the stringent Benami Act attracts seven years in prison and a hefty fine. A transaction is considered benami, or nameless, when a property is transferred to or is held by a person and the money for purchase has been provided or paid by another person.

Rasal is currently in charge of the largest iron and steel market in Asia at Kalamboli. He was earlier the divisional joint registrar of cooperatives societies for Mumbai and suburban districts. At the time, he had initiated a survey of cooperative societies in the state to identify those that existed only on paper.

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    A.K.Saxena
    Jul 12, 2017 at 7:06 pm
    Benami properties are stigma for civil society. Strict action with tracker should be publishied by Govt./ Media houses to teach lesson to all.
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    1. M
      Mohammed Salahudeen
      Jul 12, 2017 at 5:31 pm
      WHY FOR GOVERNMENT SERVANTS ONLY. IT HAS TO BE FOR ALL BENAMI HOLDERS WITH NOT ONLY SEIZURE OF THEIR PROPERTIES BUT ALSO SENTENCING THEM FOR SUFFICIENT PERIOD. OTHERWISE BENAMI PROPERTIES MAY GROW IN THIRD PARTY NAMES.
      Reply
      1. R
        Raj Kumar Dham
        Jul 12, 2017 at 10:36 am
        Very Good step by IT to expose black money and corruption . Take it forward to stop this menace of corruption and black money to make India rich and developed
        Reply
        1. V
          V S sampathkumar
          Jul 12, 2017 at 9:22 am
          All only one time news. NEWSPAPER should also continuously publish follow up news till it takes the logical conclusion
          Reply
          1. H
            HOMER
            Jul 11, 2017 at 11:49 pm
            Even a single drop in the ocean makes waves. Repercussions of this drop will grow wider and catch many in the net!
            Reply
            1. R
              Rudransh Dash
              Jul 11, 2017 at 11:48 pm
              Every slum in all over India are 60 possessed by wealthy or reach people. 2/3 guys known to me in Bhubaneswar owning govt quarters possessing houses in slum area, also rented others. Earning 20000/m.
              Reply
              1. C
                Chandra Boregowda
                Jul 11, 2017 at 11:09 pm
                The aquired benMi properties shoukd be suction and money shiukd be given to waiveoff farmer loans
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                  Mahesh
                  Jul 11, 2017 at 7:47 pm
                  Good move chalta he kab tak chlega enough is enough there were laws earliear but no lmplimention just in case of banks also who stopped them earliar to declare the persons on various board of directors as will ful defaulters under the existing laws of course some one was there to dictate...... The defaulting public servents should be brought to books ....not only the public servents but also the defaulting corporates who draw good amount of ry but default the payments to banks .This is good move the aam adami is happy
                  Reply
                  1. I
                    Insaan
                    Jul 12, 2017 at 4:48 am
                    हमारे अच्छे विचार व सदाचारी व्यवहार अथवा आचरण प्रायः यदि पूजा स्थल से आरम्भ होते हैं तो क्यों न मंदिरों, मस्जिदों, गिरजाघरों, अथवा गुरुद्वारों में धर्माध्यक्ष उपस्थित लोगों को समाज, विधि-व्यवस्था व राजनीति-सम्बंधित सामयिक मा ों से अवगत करवाएं ताकि जिम्मेदार नागरिक होते हुए वे लोग अपने देश के प्रति अपना उत्तरदायित्व भली भांति निभा सकें| अंग्रेजी में लिखे तौर तरीके व कायदे कानून उनके समझ से परे हैं और देश में क्या कुछ हो रहा है अखबारों की काली स्याही में धरा रह जाता है| उदाहरणार्थ, The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment) Bill, 2015 की विषय-वस्तु पढ़े-लिखे लोगों को यदि समझ नहीं आती तो साधारण भारतीय नागरिकों को तो अंग्रेजी का काला अक्षर भैंस बराबर क्या समझ आएगा? उन्हें हिंदी भाषा में “बेनामी लेनदेन (निषेध) संशोधन विधेयक २०१५” अथवा उनकी प्रांतीय भाषाओं में बताना होगा कि उनमें कई एक बेनामधारी देश में कानून का उल्लंघन कर रहे हैं और उन्हें आगे आ कर काला-धन प्रकट करना होगा, इत्यादि|
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