New Delhi: The income tax department has investigated more than 400 cases since the government demonetised high-value currency on 8 November and has referred some of these cases to the enforcement directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
In these investigations, the tax department has seized more than Rs130 crore in cash and jewellery while taxpayers have admitted to Rs2,000 crore of undisclosed income, the tax department said in a statement.
The tax department has referred around 30 cases where serious irregularities were detected to the ED and CBI. These cases mostly involved seizure of a large amount of currency in new high-denomination notes.
The maximum references were made by the Bengaluru arm of the tax department, which has referred 18 cases. The city was in the news after Rs5.7 crore, mostly in new high-denomination notes, was seized by the tax department last week.
The other references came from Mumbai, Ludhiana, Hyderabad, Pune, Delhi and Bhopal. The ED on Monday arrested two Axis bank officials based in New Delhi for their complicity in money laundering, after a reference from the income tax department.
“The concerted and coordinated enforcement action of the Income Tax Department, ED and CBI in detecting the malpractices and taking swift action is going to continue in the coming days,” the department said, in a warning to tax evaders.
The tax department has been conducting numerous survey operations in the past one month, cracking down on jewellers, money launderers and forex dealers who were helping tax evaders legalize their black money. Some bankers were also suspended for their involvement in money laundering. From backdating bills to facilitate jewellery purchases with old notes to using fake identities to help exchange of money and opening of dummy accounts in banks to facilitate money laundering, the tax department has had to crack down on many illegal practices as it tries to ensure that undisclosed wealth is not legalized after the demonetisation exercise.
While announcing that Rs500 and Rs1000 notes will cease to be legal tender from midnight of 8 November, Prime Minister Narendra Modi argued that the move will help in curbing black money and counterfeit currency. But with more than three fourth of the estimated Rs16 trillion in circulation coming back into the banking system with still three weeks left for the deposit window to close, doubts have arisen over the efficacy of the move in cracking down on black money.