Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday promised a “benami sampatti ka toofan” soon, while talking about the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amended Act, 2016, brought by his government, during a campaign rally in Himachal Pradesh.
A look at the law between November 1, 2016, when it became operational, and June 20, 2017, shows that the government has identified 413 benami transactions under it and provisionally attached properties in 233 cases, valued at Rs 813 crore. This is as per data across 14 regions of the Director General of Income Tax (Investigation), sourced from the Finance Ministry.
The benami properties attached include deposits in bank accounts, jewellery and immovable properties.
In July, the ministry had said the government has set up 24 Benami Prohibition Units across India for taking effective action under the Act.
Of the total properties worth Rs 813 crore under provisional attachment, those in Kolkata region alone accounted for Rs 477 crore, or more than 58 per cent.
In contrast, Lucknow region, where a total of 13 transactions were detected, witnessed no attachment of benami properties under the Act during the period. In Patna region, while 19 cases witnessed provisional attachments, the value of such benami properties was only Rs 7 lakh.
But while Kolkata came on top in terms of value of benami properties attached, Ahmedabad saw the highest number of transactions (74) detected under the Act, even as provisional attachments were made in only four cases.
Chennai and Mumbai region saw the highest number of cases where benami properties were attached provisionally, together accounting for nearly half of such cases (107 out of 233). While Chennai region accounted for 65 cases, Mumbai saw 42 cases. The value of attachments in Chennai region amounted to Rs 93.39 crore (second only to Kolkata region), while the value of attachments in Mumbai region stood at Rs 91.74 crore.
To further curb benami transactions and the use of black money in real estate deals, the government is planning to make Aadhaar-based authentication mandatory at the time of registration of documents, such as agreement to sale, power of attorney and will, among others.