You could get Rs. 1cr for revealing benami properties
Starting October-November, you could get a reward of up to Rs. 1cr for informing authorities about benami properties. Sources in the CBDT say they have already cleared the proposal and sent it to the Finance Ministry for approval. The identity of the informer will be kept a secret to protect them from danger, they have assured. Will it help the fight against black money?
What are benami properties?
'Benami' properties or assets are those which are not held in the name of the person who paid for it: usually such assets are held under name of family members, business associates, employees, friends or others. Separately, the person who holds the asset is unable to establish an income trail for purchase of such asset/property. The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act was passed in 1988.
What are the laws governing the benami framework?
The 1988 Benami Act although passed was never implemented or notified, as rules were never prescribed by the government. In 2011, a 'Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Bill 2011' was introduced by UPA government but was never passed. In July 2016, the BJP government amended the 1988 Benami Act and subsequently 'Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 (Benami Act) came into effect on November 1, 2016.
What's the Centre planning now?
CBDT sources said if the policy being discussed goes through, 'secret informers' will get a minimum of Rs. 15L and a maximum of Rs. 1cr. The Finance Ministry is likely to approve the proposal and an announcement is likely by next month, they say.
Will it help the fight against black money and corruption?
In May, the I-T said it had unearthed 400 benami deals and attached Rs. 600cr worth of properties linked to the deals. Data shows only 6% of black money is in cash whereas the rest is invested in real estate, gold and other assets. Encouraging tipping-off of benami properties might be a huge step towards a corruption-free economy.