Today's Paper

Govt. to invoke Benami Act for failure to link Aadhaar?

The Telangana government is said to be considering invoking provisions of a Central legislation ‘Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act’ against those who did not link their land holdings with Aadhaar in the recent updation of land records.

Though a senior official told The Hindu that the decision was not yet taken, the government has already barred issue of pattadar passbooks or cheques as part of Rytu Bandhu programme to those in possession of these lands. The Act prohibits benami transactions and provides for confiscation of the properties.

Sources said the government was in the know about the real owners of the lands. As soon as the registration of these lands was completed, mutation of the holdings was taken up in records. Based on the information, the government was likely to proceed. The government suspected majority of lands which were not Aadhaar seeded to be benami. The Revenue machinery made futile attempts to link the lands with Aadhaar for over two months. In this context, the government mulled giving the owners one more chance before launching legal proceedings. Out of 57.33 lakh land holdings in the State, only 52.73 lakh accounts were Aadhaar seeded. There was no response from the remaining 4.60 lakh account holders. A majority of them were suspected to be banami while a small percentage were NRIs. Film personalities, industrialists, politicians and real estate dealers were suspected to be behind benami transactions. The government had issued pattadar passbooks to only those who furnished Aadhaar numbers and even ensured that only the pictures on Aadhaar cards were used on the passbooks. The government was reportedly of the view that it could not initiate any legal action against those who did not furnish Aadhaar numbers owing to Supreme Court directions. Therefore, it considered Benami Act.