I-T takes over Mehul Choksi’s assets in 1st Benami law confiscation

In a primary, the revenue tax (I-T) division has taken bodily management of immovable assets value over â‚č150 crore owned by fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi underneath the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act (BTPA) which got here into impact from November 1, 2016.

“On 27 May, 2022, a team from the Benami Unit went to Balwantnagar and Mundhegaon, Igatpuri for taking possession of several plots of lands held in the name of benamidar Nashik Multi Services SEZ Ltd, wherein M/s Geetanjali Gems is held as beneficial owner. Signboards were placed at places identified by the land surveyor in the presence of Tehsil officials and independent witnesses. Possession was taken over of total 52 plots identified and confirmed during panchnama proceedings,” an individual conscious of the event instructed ET. Other properties confiscated embrace three workplace areas in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex, stated sources.

Geetanjali was promoted by

and Benamidar is the one who maintain properties on behalf of the helpful proprietor.

“The end purpose is to restore the proceeds of crime to the bank by the way of auction but that call rests with the Board,” stated a senior tax official.

With confiscation and possession, the title, utilization, and all rights of assets go to the federal government. Earlier, the division had auctioned a number of the assets of Choksi and nephew Nirav Modi who’re accused of defrauding the state-owned

of â‚č13,500 crore. This is the primary time when the division has accomplished the confiscation of immovable properties underneath the Benami law.

“Under the new Benami Law, the stage of confiscation of properties comes only when the Appellate Tribunal has decided its appeal and thereafter the matter has to be heard again by the adjudicating authority. Now, the Appellate Tribunal is not functional due to lack of quorum since 2 years. In cases where parties whose properties have been attached have not preferred to file an appeal, action towards confiscation is being initiated. Interestingly, Under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the possession of property can be taken by ED immediately after confirmation by the Adjudicating Authority under PMLA,” stated advocate and former ITAT member Ashwani Taneja.

The assets linked to Choksi had been provisionally hooked up final yr underneath the BTPA after a probe by the Mumbai IT investigation wing ascertained that the assets had been benami with Choksi being the last word beneficiary proprietor. Subsequently, the attachment was confirmed by the adjudicating authority (AA). With Choksi not difficult the stated order earlier than the appellate tribunal inside the stipulated interval underneath the law, the properties had been confiscated and bodily possession was taken. “Possession was taken after duly informing the AA that the assessee (in this case Choksi) failed to avail of the legal remedy under the act,” stated one other official requesting anonymity.

“Of late there has been a lot of traction and administrative action in Benami cases. There are some safeguards prescribed against arbitrary confiscation of benami property – like no confiscation if an appeal is pending with appellate tribunal or if a third party made a bona fide purchase without knowledge of benami proceedings. In the absence of such conditions, Section 27 prescribes that the benami property will stand confiscated and it will vest in the central government. Such benami property will be managed by the government-approved administrators until their disposal following due processes,” stated Ashish Mehta, Partner on the law agency Khaitan & Co.

In March, the central authorities knowledgeable the Rajya Sabha that assets amounting to â‚č19,111.20 crore referring to fugitive financial offenders Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, and Mehul Choksi have been hooked up.

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