I-T dept to de-freeze 100 demat accounts

The income-tax (I-T) department will recommend de-freezing of about 100 demat accounts after it found the claims of a few individuals in the frozen accounts to be genuine.

The department has been probing more than 6,300 frozen demat accounts, which had
Rs6,700 crore of unclaimed stocks.

Some claims on these accounts have been found to be genuine by the I-T department. They will be recommended for de-freezing to the two depositories—National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL) and Central Securities Depository Services Ltd (CDSL)—which froze them in January 2007, after legal formalities, official sources said.

Sources said the number of such accounts could be 100 and the exact amount of money in these accounts is being ascertained.

A number of such accounts were lying idle since 2007 but the I-T department had of late received claims by individuals of these accounts, they said.

During its probe, the I-T department had found monetary links of these frozen demat accounts to various other bank accounts and investment avenues like share markets.

The department is checking the veracity of the account holders as it suspects certain 'benami' accounts also in this lot.

The department is investigating 6,385 frozen demat accounts, which had balances in excess of Rs10 lakh as on December 2008.

Demat accounts are required for trading in stock exchanges. The I-T department earlier had asked its chief commissioners of income-tax (CCITs) to serve notices to all the account holders and report unclaimed accounts so that such accounts can be seized.

The respective I-T commissioners are now preparing 'detailed reports' on the transactions of these accounts. The I-T authorities, with the help of the unique permanent account numbers (PANs), had also tracked down a number of shareholders of these accounts.

In certain cases, it was found that the account holder had died and some had changed addresses without informing the assessing officers of the department.

The probe earlier had found thousands of investors receiving money in the form of allotment of shares in IPOs.

These accounts were frozen by NSDL and CSDL, on 1 January 2007, after investors failed to comply with the government’s directive to furnish details of their PAN while transacting in the financial markets.

After the 2006 IPO scam, stock market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had made it mandatory for depository participants, and later investors, to quote PANs for operating demat accounts.
 

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