People trying to convert black money into white may face 7 years in jail

income tax-wefornews

Delhi, 21 Nov: The Income tax department has launched operations across the country to keep eyes on the suspected bank accounts holders who are depositing a large amount of money in demonetise currency.

The tax department has warned people against depositing their unaccounted old currency in someone else’s bank account as now the violators will attract a penalty, prosecution and rigorous jail term of a maximum seven years under the newly enforced Benami Transactions Act.

According to the official sources, the department has detected more than Rs 200 crore in undisclosed income after it held over 80 surveys and about 30 searches in cases of suspicious usage of the scrapped currency. Around Rs 50 crore has also been seized in these operations post-November 8 across various states.

In case the suspicion is found to be true will be prosecuted under the Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988, applicable on both movable and immovable property, that has been enforced from November 1 this year.

The Act empowers the taxman to confiscate and prosecute both the depositor and the person whose illegal money he or she has “adjusted” in their account.

“The CBDT has directed the Income Tax department to closely monitor all such transactions where people are using bank accounts of other persons for hiding and converting into white their black money using the old currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000.

“Already some instances have been reported in this regard and the department is set to issue notices under the Benami Act,” the sources told PTI.

Iniatially, they said, the notices will be sent in cases of large cash deposits beyond the threshold of Rs 2.5 lakh but in cases where a suspicious report is received from the bank or the Financial Intelligence Unit below this threshold will also come under scanner.

“Such an arrangement where a person deposits old currency of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 in the bank account of another person with an understanding that the account holder shall return his money in new currency, the transaction shall be termed as benami transaction under the said Act.

“The person who deposits old currency in the bank account shall be treated as beneficial owner and the person in whose bank account the old currency has been deposited shall be categorised under this law as a benamidar,” a senior official informed.

The Benami Act, the official said, provides that the benamidar, the beneficial owner and any other person who abets or induces the Benami transaction, shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a period ranging from 1-7 years.

“The benami amount in the bank account deposited post de-monetisation will be seized and confiscated and the accused will also be liable to fine which extends upto 25 per cent of the fair market value of the benami property,” the official said.

The Income Tax department has tightened its vigilance to check all black money transactions, money laundering and tax evasion and has issued hundreds of notices of enquiry to charitable and religious trusts to show their account balances and to those who have deposited huge cash in their bank accounts.

 Wefornews Bureau

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