Income Tax department slaps benami transaction charges against Lalu Prasad's family

Lynette Rowe
June 20, 2017

Income Tax department on Monday has seized benami properties of RJD lawmaker Misa Bharti, her husband Shailesh Kumar and Bihar deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav.

The BJP had also accused Mr. Prasad, Ms. Bharti and his sons Mr. Tejashwi and Mr. Tej Pratap, both Ministers in the Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government, of involvement in corrupt land deals worth over Rs 1,000 crore, and asked the Central government to probe one such transaction in Delhi. Before this, Misa Bharti and her husband Shailesh were summoned by the I-T department in connection with a "benami" assets case. Tax officials said all six have been served notices of attachment of assets, which identify them as "beneficiaries" of benami property or property purchased in the name of others to hide who really owns them.

Tax department officials had said Lalu's kin held some of the properties under their scanner in a benami way. The deed value of these properties is Rs 9.32 crore, but the I-T department has estimated the market price of such immovable assets to be Rs 170 - 180 crore.

Lalu Yadav has rejected the charges of corruption and has alleged "political vengeance" against his family by the BJP, of which he is a sharp critic.

The Income Tax Department had issued two summons to Misa Bharti to appear before Delhi investigation wing of the department but Bharti failed to appear.

The officials added that "a few more such assets will soon be attached in the case".

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Benami properties are those in which the real beneficiary is not the one in whose name (benamidar) the property has been purchased.

The charges were brought under the Benami Transactions Act.

On June 7, the I-T department slapped a fine of Rs. 10,000 against Shailesh on account of not appearing for interrogation.

If a satisfactory reply is not received in the next 90 days, their properties would be seized, the IT notification reportedly said.

The former Bihar chief minister's family have been charged under the Benami Transactions Act in connection with its probe into land deals worth Rs 1000 crores, PTI reported.

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