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Assets worth Rs 18,400 crore attached under Benami Act till July 31: Report

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The Department (I-T Dept) reportedly attached assets worth Rs 18,400 crore under the Transaction Prohibition Act, till July 31. The (SC) on August 23, announced that for transactions made before October 24, 2016, the retrospective use of the act was unconstitutional.


According to a report in BusinessLine (BL), the records do not have segregated data for transactions made before and after October 24.


Till July 31, the I-T Department had issued notices in 3,175 cases amounting to Rs 19,222 crore. Assets have been attached in 2,967 cases and are worth Rs 18,401 crore. In 125 cases, prosecution complaints have been filed, according to BL.


There is no clarity on how many such cases are of earlier dates than October 24.


In an amendment to the 1988 act in 2016, criminal proceedings were allowed to be conducted retrospectively. On August 23, however, the SC declared that the provisions of the act cannot be applied retrospectively on transactions entered before October 25, 2016.


Ashish K Singh, managing partner with Capstone Legal was quoted in the report as saying that once the provision has been declared unconstitutional, there is no scope for interpretation left with the department.


The cut-off date will have to be adhered to. “If the prosecution is continued illegally, the aggrieved person has the right to approach constitutional courts (High Courts of respective jurisdictions) seeking remedies,” Singh told BL.


The SC also struck down Section 3 (2) of the Act that mandated punishment of three years imprisonment for those who entered into transactions between September 5, 1988, and October 25, 2016. This provision could earlier put a person behind bars for a transaction they did 28 years ago.

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