IT attaches property of Mayawati's brother, wife (3rd Lead)

New Delhi, July 18 (IANS) In a major crackdown, the Income Tax Department has attached a benami commercial plot in Noida worth Rs 400 crore belonging to BSP chief Mayawati's brother Anand Kumar and his wife where a five-star hotel was supposed to come up.

The action comes ahead of the by-elections in 12 Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh.

A senior IT official told IANS that the wealth of Anand Kumar and his wife Vichiter Lata rose steeply between 2007 to 2012, the years Mayawati was the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister.

An IT order said the Benami Prohibition Unit of Delhi had passed a Provisional Attachment order on Tuesday under section 24 (3) of the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988.

This related to the plot of land measuring 28,328.07 square meters (seven acres) located in a prime locality in Noida which is owned by Anand Kumar and his wife.

"The book value of the property is approximately Rs 400 crore," the order said.

According to IT department officials, the attached plot, where a five-star hotel and other luxury facilities were planned to be created, was registered in Noida's Sector 94.

The total properties apparently belonging to Anand Kumar and his wife are estimated at Rs 1,300 crore.

The official revealed that Anand Kumar was the proprietor of over 12 companies, most of them shell companies, and had amassed over Rs 440 crore in cash and properties worth Rs 870 crore.

An IT probe detected a complex web of shareholding by at least six firms who were the entities in whose name the "benami" property stood.

The companies identified as by the tax authorities are -- Vision Town Planners Pvt Ltd, 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 IT probe alleged that Anand Kumar and his wife were the sole beneficiaries of the funds of the multi-layered "benami" transactions that took place through these companies.

The IT officials said that the asset was created after allegedly using the services of Delhi-based hawala entry operators.

The official said that Anand Kumar, a businessman who maintains a low profile in the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), had been on the radar of the Income Tax Department even before the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections that brought the BJP to power.

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

Anand Kumar had grabbed headlines post demonetisation as Rs 1.43 crore was deposited in his bank account.

Anand Kumar was appointed the BSP Vice President and his son Akash Anand the National Coordinator in June.

The IT action comes at a time when Mayawati is facing the heat of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the sale of 21 state-run sugar mills and the construction of memorials during her Chief Ministership.

Last week, the CBI raided the premises of several former and current IAS officers in connection with the sugar mills case, including the residence of former Principal Secretary Netram, considered close to the BSP chief.

On March 12, just before the Lok Sabha election, the Income Tax department also raided over a dozen locations of Netram over suspected tax evasion amounting to Rs 100 crore.

--IANS

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