JK Dumps Benami Transactions Act

JK Dumps Benami Transactions Act

25 November 2012
Greater Kashmir
Firdous Tak

Jammu: Amid mounting corruption menace, Jammu and Kashmir government has failed to implement an important legislation – prohibiting Benami transactions –three years after the Bill was passed by the state legislature. The delay in implanting the legislation has given free hand to politicians, bureaucrats and police officers, to make huge Benami investments in real estate. Official sources said the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act passed by the state legislature in 2010 is yet to be implemented on ground “owing to technical difficulties”. Amid state government’s failure, a Parliament Standing Committee has also recommended formulation of new law at central level and extension of the same to Jammu and Kashmir. Elaborating further, they said that Benami transaction – which refers to sale or purchase of a property in fictitious name – has become one of the main concerns of the agencies probing corruption related cases. “Over the last one decade, politicians, bureaucrats and even police officers have been investing millions of rupees in real estates business across Jammu and Kashmir through Benami transactions,” a senior officer said, on the condition of anonymity. He claimed that in some cases the babus and politicians have purchased properties not only in the name of their relatives but even in the name of their drivers and domestic helps. “The real estates business has of course turned out to be heaven for people with black money,” he added. Officials said that in view of the growing menace, the Jammu and Kashmir government enacted a law –Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act 2010 – and got it passed in the state assembly on March 2, 2010. The Act was intended to curb the menace of corruption by prohibiting Benami transactions and allow the government to take over such properties. The Act, sources said, not only prohibits Benami transactions but also gives a right to the government to seize the Benami properties without payment. Unfortunately, even after passing the law, the government has not been able to implement it on ground for various reasons. Sources claimed that the government was yet to formulate the rules required for the implementation of the Act for some unknown reasons. “The file has been gathering dust with General Administration Department (GAD), which was supposed to formulate the rules under the Act”, sources claimed. Due to the lackadaisical approach of the state and central government in curbing the menace, a Parliamentary Committee recently had suggested passing of a new Act at the central level and extension of the same to Jammu and Kashmir. The present central Act passed in 1988 does not extend to the state of Jammu and Kashmir due to the special status enjoyed by the state. “In view of the economic gravity of such transactions, the Committee’s report which was tabled in the Lok Sabha recently, recommended that the provisions of the new Benami Transactions Prohibition law should extend to Jammu and Kashmir”, sources maintained. When contacted, JK’s Law Secretary G H Tantray confirmed that the Rules under the Act were not framed. “We are on the job”, he, however said adding, “We are also examining the report submitted by the Parliament Standing Committee with regard to the new legislation”.