On 8th November at 8 pm, Prime Minister Modi in a bold move, announced the demonetization of ₹ 500 and ₹ 1000 bank notes which amount to about ₹ 14 lakh crore – a huge fraction of the amount being unaccounted and involved in a parallel economy. This was the biggest crackdown on corruption and black money in the history of India. The very next day, news of people throwing stacks of notes in rivers, burning sacks full of notes, police recovering huge amount of cash all over India and various departments raiding all over at Hawala agencies, gold dealers, forex agencies were all over. After all these, PM openly declared that all the files of financial irregularities from independence will be opened.

Today, PM Modi went a step ahead and announced that the next “surgical strikes” will be on Benaami properties (properties in form of land, houses, flats which are not named after the real owner). Most of the corrupt people who have unaccounted wealth resort to buying properties at various places not on their names but on the names of their distant relatives, friends or at times even fake IDs so that their properties bought from ill-gotten wealth do not come under scanner. Since stacking cash has never been a good idea, most of the corrupt have been indulging in buying multiple benaami properties.

The attack on “benaami properties” is all set to break the backbone of the corrupt who have invested huge sums of unaccounted wealth in buying properties. If everything goes as planned, government may soon start the massive ambitious program of digitization of land records. Under this scheme, all the properties, flats, lands and immovable properties will be recorded on a centralized digital database. Once all the records have been digitized it will be extremely easy to figure out the benaami and multiple properties. While addressing people in Goa today, PM Modi said that there are many people who are neither from Goa, have never worked in Goa but have multiple benaami properties. He promised that the next legal action will be on them as these benaami property is the wealth of nation !

Here is what the PM said on people holding benaami properties :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzt3cslqeQM

The prime minister sent out a strong warning to the people who have huge amount of unaccounted wealth and said, “If you haven’t realised what I am made of, then do now… I will dig into your records dating back to when India achieved its independence. If required, I will give jobs to 100,000 youths and ask them to specifically do this work. I am not going to spare anyone involved in corruption.”

With President Pranab Mukherjee signing the Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Amendment Bill (2016), it is now an act. The law has strict provisions to confiscate benami properties and stiff penalty for entering into such transactions, they said. A transaction is considered as benami (meaning nameless) where a property is transferred to or is held by a person and the consideration for such property has been provided or paid by another person. As per the new law which has amended Benami Transactions Act of 1988, whoever is found guilty of the offence of benami transaction shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year, but which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to 25 per cent of the fair market value of the property.

Well, the corrupt officials and businessmen who have lots of benaami properties bought from unaccounted wealth are sure to get heart-attack after this !!


Kshitij Mohan

 

 

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