LUCKNOW: At a time when Mayawati is already under scanner of probe agencies in connection with the scams involving sale of 21 sugar mills and construction of memorials during her last tenure as CM, the Income-Tax department attached a 'benami' seven acre commercial piece of land worth Rs 400 crore owned by her younger brother Anand Kumar and his wife, said an official order on Thursday.
In fact, I-T department's Delhi-based Benami Prohibition Unit (BPU) had issued the provisional order under Section 24(3) of the Prohibition of Benami Property Transaction Act ,1988 for the attachment of plot, beneficially owned by Anand Kumar and his wife Vichiter Lata, on July 16 itself.
Notably, the BSP chief had appointed Anand Kumar party’s national vice president and his son Akash Anand national general secretary in a major organisational rejig after 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Benami properties pertain to those which are purchased in the name of someone else who is not the actual beneficiary of it.
The plot, measuring 28,328.07 square metres or about seven acres is located at a prime location in Noida. It is registered at no 2A, Sector 94, Noida, in Gautam Budh Nagar district of UP-NCR. As per the sources, the beneficiary had planned a five-star hotel and other luxury facilities on the plot. The attachment order puts the book value of the plot at approximately Rs 400.
According to findings of the probe, the tax department detected a "complex web of shareholding" by at least six firms, including dummy companies, who were the 'benamidars' or the entities' in whose name the 'benami' property is standing.' The companies identified as 'benamidars' in the order are Vision Town Planners Private Limited, BPTP International Trade Center Pvt Ltd, Euro Asia Mercantile Pvt Ltd, Sunny Cast and Forge Pvt Ltd, Karishma industries Pvt Ltd and Ad-Fin Capital Services India Pvt. Ltd.
The anti-benami law, enacted in 1988 but implemented from November 2016 by the Modi government, provides for a rigorous imprisonment to the violator of up to seven years and fine up to 25 per cent of the fair market value of the property.
The Act allows for prosecution of the beneficial owner, the 'benamidar', the abettor and the inducer to 'benami' transactions. It also says that the assets held 'benami' after final prosecution are liable for confiscation by the government without payment of compensation.
Anand Kumar and Vichiter Lata are the sole beneficiaries of the funds of the multi-layered 'benami' transactions that took place through these companies, allege the sources.
In fact, Anand Kumar, a clerk in Noida Authority till 2007, turned into a businessman between 2007 and 2012 accruing wealth to the tune of Rs 1300 crore in his and his wife’s name. It was the period when Mayawati was helming Uttar Pradesh during her fourth term as chief minister.
The sources also claim that Anand Kumar has been owning over a dozen companies and has amassed wealth over Rs 440 crore in cash and properties worth Rs 870 crore.
I-T sources, Anand Kumar created the assets after allegedly using the services of Delhi-based hawala entry operators, who route illegal money. The department has held that the source of funds of these companies as 'fictitious" and “unexplained cash credit" under sections of the Income Tax Act, 1961.