The government plans to tighten its grip over benami transactions and plans to set up an authority and empower it to confiscate assets that are seen/treated/said to be benami if the owner fails to provide enough proof and further aims to fine-tune the existing law. Amendments to the Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act, 1988, will allow the Centre to confiscate property that is declared benami. The proposed amendments are likely to be discussed by the Union Cabinet.

The amendments will include changing the definition of BENAMI to make it more stringent and putting in place a trial process. If a complainant is unhappy with the order, he or she can complain before the adjudicating authority set up under the money laundering Act. The authority will be expected to pass an order within a year. The complainant will have the right to approach an appellate tribunal and the high court if he/she is not satisfied with the order of the adjudicating authority.

The amendments are likely to be introduced in the monsoon session of Parliament and could blunt the Opposition’s attack on the government on the issue of corruption and the Lokpal bill.