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House panel seeks stricter provisions in benami bill

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 14, 2012
First Published: 00:03 IST(14/8/2012) | Last Updated: 01:33 IST(14/8/2012)

A parliamentary panel has sought stricter provisions to the much-awaited Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Bill, 2011 that aims to curb illegal property transactions in the name of another person.


The parliamentary standing committee on finance on  Monday submitted a report in both the Houses and pulled up the UPA government for not showing enough sincerity in enacting the legislation earlier.

“The committee failed to understand as to why the government went into a slumber after promulgation of Ordinance in a hurry and enactment of law to prohibit benami transactions,” the report said.

The report came at a time when Baba Ramdev upped his ante over black money and corruption and fired salvoes against the Congress-led UPA over these issues.

The committee asked the government to increase the maximum punishment for benami transactions to three years’ imprisonment from the bill’s provision of two years.

The committee also feels that the bill gives too many exemptions for holding properties. Instead, only property in the name of a spouse or unmarried daughter should be exempt, it said in report.

It also sought to bring the state of J&K under the purview of the bill because of the financial gravity of such transactions.

According to the Committee, the bill also doesn’t define terms like “transaction”, “arrangement”, “trustee”, “executor” and “agent” properly and these definitions should be reviewed.

The benami transaction (prohibition) bill was pegged by the UPA as one of its key promises during the height of Anna movement a few months ago.

Along with bills for protection to whistleblowers, the Lokpal and amendments to prevention of money laundering, the UPA aimed a comprehensive anti-graft legislative package.

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