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‘Benami’ hotel of Bishnois attached

‘Benami’ hotel of Bishnois attached

Gurugram, August 27

The Benami Prohibition Unit (BPU) of Delhi’s Income Tax Department has attached a Rs 150-crore five-star Hotel Bristol at DLF Phase 1, declaring it a ‘benami’ property belonging to senior Congress leader Kuldeep Bishnoi and younger brother Chander Mohan.

The provisional order of attachment was issued under Section 24(3) of the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988. The attachment has been done following an investigation into charges of tax evasion filed against the Bishnoi family in July 2019. Benami properties are those in which the real beneficiary is not the one in whose name the property has been purchased. While Bishnoi could not be reached for comment, his official spokesperson from Hisar denied the claim saying it was propaganda to defame the family.

The I-T Department, however, reacted with an official statement: “The said asset is owned in the name of a company, Bright Star Hotel Private Limited, in which 34% shares are held in the name of a front company registered in British Virgin Islands (BVI) and operated inter alia from UAE. Investigations revealed that the said entity and its assets are the benami assets of Kuldeep Bishnoi and Chander Mohan, sons of former Chief Minister of Haryana Late Bhajan Lal,” read the statement.

The management of the hotel denied knowledge of the attachment.

A senior I-T official claimed they got concrete evidence about the ownership of the hotel by the family and it being a benami property during a search operation at the family home in July.

They had evidence to establish that “close confidants” of the Bishnois in the BVI entity were managing and holding the rights to the property. The control over the affairs of the entity rested with the Bishnois and monetary consideration paid for acquisition of shares in Bright Star Hotel Private Limited was “arranged by the Bishnois”. The Bishnois were “managing actual affairs” of the entity through their associates based in India and abroad, the department charged in the order. Unconfirmed reports hinted at family’s lion share in BVI entity shares. The Adampur MLA has cancelled his political engagements and reached Delhi following attachment of the hotel. — TNS

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New Delhi: At SC hearing in an INX case, ex-Finance Minister P Chidambaram questioned ED for accusing him of certain act that was not a crime in 2007 when it allegedly took place. SC extended his protection from arrest in PMLA case till Wednesday . TNS

THE MONEY TRAIL

  • A search operation in July this year yielded concrete proof, say sources
  • It revealed ‘benami’ shareholders of BVI were confidants of Bishnoi family
  • Consideration was paid for shares in Bright Star Hotel arranged by Bishnois
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