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I-T Dept attaches Rs 230 crore worth of 'benami' assets of Mayawati's ex-secretary

A total of 19 immovable properties belonging to IAS officer Net Ram, spread across Delhi, Noida, Kolkata and Mumbai have been attached by the Income Tax Department

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: September 24, 2019  | 21:49 IST
I-T Dept attaches Rs 230 crore worth of 'benami' assets of Mayawati's ex-secretary

The income tax department has attached "benami" assets worth Rs 230 crore of retired IAS officer Net Ram, who had served as secretary to former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati, official sources said on Tuesday.

They said a total of 19 immovable properties spread across Delhi, Noida, Kolkata and Mumbai have been attached by the department.

A provisional order of attachment against Net Ram was issued last week by the Delhi investigation unit of the department under section 24(3) of the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988, they said.

The attached properties are both commercial and residential.

Investigation revealed that the officer had invested his "undisclosed cash" in various benami properties through a complex, multi-layered web of companies and entities controlled by him with the assistance of his close aides using his close relatives as fronts, they alleged.

The officer, who served in top positions during BSP supremo Mayawati's chief ministership, was first raided by the tax department in March this year.

It had seized cash worth over Rs 1.64 crore, Mont Blanc pens valued at Rs 50 lakh and four luxury SUVs, and had claimed to have recovered documents related to 'benami' assets of the officer worth Rs 300 crore.

The Delhi unit of the department subsequently took over the case to probe it under the anti-benami law that had been lying inoperative since 1988 and was enforced from November, 2016 by the Modi government.

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

Violators of this law attracts a rigorous imprisonment of up to seven years and fine of up to 25 per cent of the fair market value of the property.

The act allows for prosecution of the beneficial owner, the 'benamidar', abettor and the inducer to benami transactions.

It says that the assets that are held benami after final prosecution are liable for confiscation by the government without payment of compensation.

Net Ram was secretary to then Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati during 2002-03, her third stint in power in the state.

The officer has served in various capacities in UP, including heading excise, sugar industries and cane, stamp and registration, and food and civil supplies departments.

The CBI too is probing him in connection with alleged corruption charges in the sugar mills disinvestment scam case that allegedly took place during the BSP rule in UP.

It raided his premises and those of others in July this year.

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