FBR unearths over 1,000 acres of benami land

KARACHI: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has unearthed over 1,000 acres of land as Benami immovable property purportedly owned by four persons, sources said on Wednesday.

The Benami properties are located in district Umerkot, Sindh and have been attached for 90 days in order to prevent any further transactions, they added.

The immovable properties have a total area of 1,011 acres and owned by four persons, namely Lalo Mal, ML Gandhi, TL Gandhi, and KL Gandhi. The sources said the fair market value of identified Benami properties has not been determined yet.

However, they said properties have been attached for a provisional period of 90 days during which the owners have to provide evidence/source of income for the purchase of properties.

The FBR believed that actual beneficiaries of the properties are someone else and they were purchased on pseudonyms on the property papers. During the attachment period, the owners have been prohibited and restrained from transactions of properties and taking any benefits from the land.

The sources said if the owners would not be able to provide evidence of property buying then the department would file reference against them.

According to Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 2017, no person has been allowed to enter into any Benami transaction.

“Whoever enters into any benami transaction or holds any Benami property on and after the date of the commencement of this Act, shall be punishable…,” the law read. The sources said the Karachi Benami Zone has obtained income tax returns submitted by the persons but they had not declared properties in their annual returns.

The sources further said the details of transactions were obtained from the property provincial registrar office and the zone is endeavoring to identify proof of payment through the banking system. They said the payment proof of the transactions would help the tax authorities identify the real beneficiaries of the said properties.

The sources said the law prohibiting benami transactions was introduced in 2017. However, the rules to implement the laws were issued on March 11, 2019.

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