New Delhi, Jan 11: The Income Tax Department (ITD) on Thursday said it has attached benami properties worth more than Rs 3,500 crore under the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act (the ‘Benami Act’). The IT department attached land, flats, shops, jewellery, vehicles, deposits in bank accounts and fixed deposits in more than 900 cases. The IT department said that it has stepped up action against benami properties across the country.

In five cases, the provisional attachments of Benami properties, amounting to more than Rs. 150 crore have been confirmed by the Adjudicating Authority, the IT department said in a statement. In one such case, it was established that a Real Estate Company had acquired about 50 acres of land, valued at more than Rs.110 crore, using the names of certain persons of no means as benamidars, it added.

In another case, post demonetization, two assessees were found depositing demonetized currency into multiple bank accounts in the names of their employees, associates etc. to be ultimately remitted to their bank accounts. The total amount attempted to be remitted to the beneficial owners was about Rs. 39 crore. In yet another case, a cash amount of Rs. 1.11 crore was intercepted from a vehicle with a person who denied the ownership of this cash.

The Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act provides for provisional attachment and subsequent confiscation of benami properties, whether movable or immovable. It also allows for prosecution of the beneficial owner, the benamidar and the abettor to benami transactions, which may result in rigorous imprisonment up to 7 years and fine upto 25 per cent of fair market value of the property.