What are Benami Transactions and their overview? 

The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988, was enacted. This Act, for example, defined a Benami transaction as “any transaction in which property is transferred to one person in exchange for a compensation paid or furnished by another person.” The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016, revised the Act mentioned above to provide an effective system for the prohibition of Benami transactions.

The new law allows specified authorities to attach Benami properties, which can afterward be confiscated temporarily. Furthermore, if a person is found guilty of the offense of Benami transaction by a competent court, he shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a time not less than one year but which may extend to seven years, as well as a fine of up to 25% of the fair market value of the property.

The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act of 2016 became law on November 1, 2016. The old Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988, was renamed Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988, when the Amendment Act went into effect (PBPT Act).

The PBPT Act defines and forbids Benami transactions, and it also states that a violation of the PBPT Act is punishable by imprisonment and a fine. The PBPT Act forbids the rightful owner from recovering property held Benami by Benamidar. Property held by Benami is subject to expropriation by the government without compensation.

The PBPT Act includes an appeals system in the form of an Adjudicating Authority and an Appellate Tribunal. For the PBPT Act, the Adjudicating Authority referred to in section 6(1) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) and the Appellate Tribunal referred to in section 25 of the PMLA have been notified as to the Adjudicating Authority and Appellate Tribunal, respectively. In each Region, a Joint / Additional Commissioner of Income-tax, an Assistant / Deputy Commissioner of Income-tax, and a Tax Recovery Officer have been appointed to perform the functions and exercise the powers of the Approving Authority, Initiating Officer, and Administrator under the PBPT Act, respectively.

Since the new law went into effect, several Benami transactions have been detected.

Different types of Benami transactions

Each state sets a limit on the quantity of agricultural land that a person or family can own. As a result, when such a limit is reached, people attempt to purchase property in the name of another person while considering the property.

A person who has access to price-sensitive information about a company due to being in a position of power within the firm is not permitted to trade in the company’s shares since doing so would constitute insider trading. As a result, to get out of this, they enlist the help of an unconnected third party and provide him with the monies to trade on their behalf.

During demonetization, there were numerous reports of people transferring old notes that belonged to someone else into their bank accounts and then swapping them for new notes. The definition of property in the Benami Act is broad and includes cash. hence, such a transaction is also known as a Benami transaction.

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