The Union Government has constituted inter-departmental task force comprising members of various regulatory Ministries and enforcement agencies to crack down on benami firms.
It is first major post-demonetisation move undertaken by Government for unearthing black money from shell companies used for large-scale money laundering and tax evasion.
- The task force will be headed by Revenue Secretary and Corporate Affairs Secretary to monitor the actions taken by various agencies.
- The involved agencies will invoke the stringent Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 against the shell companies and freeze their accounts and strike off the names of dormant companies.
- It will also initiate disciplinary action against professionals abetting the companies and entry operators, who are used to launder unaccounted-for incomes into the banking system for projecting them as white money.
There are about 15 lakh registered companies in India, but only 6 lakh of them file their annual returns. It has raised suspicion that a large number of these companies are indulging in financial irregularities. During a small sample analysis of such companies conducted by Government has found that Rs.1,238 crore in cash was deposited in these entities during the November-December 2016 period, after demonetisation. It also has been found that 560 beneficiaries have laundered money to the extent of Rs. 3,900 crore with the help of 54 professionals, who have been identified by the Government.