NEW DELHI: Income tax officials began survey operations on Friday in banks in the national capital’s Chandni Chowk area, considered as a key trading hub and which reports cash deposits in accounts touching multiple thousands crores of rupees in a year.
I-T officials suspect many of these accounts are operated by ‘entry operators’ who run shell companies many of which are registered on fictitious addresses intended to derail the investigation. “We are checking if banks have followed the ‘know your customer’ guidelines in case of accounts which have seen highest cash deposits, particularly after the demonetisation announcement,” said a senior I-T official.
The agency suspects complicity of bank officials in a large number of cases where it has seized new currency notes of Rs 2,000 in huge numbers. In Chennai, the I-T department had seized nearly Rs 10 crore in new notes after eight premises were raided on Thursday.
The Chandni Chowk probe started with a survey in an Axis Bank branch and would continue with other banks that have seen huge deposits, an I-T official said. Authorities are checking if illegal exchange of demonetised notes has taken place. Axis Bank has said it is cooperating with the I-T cell and is committed to following the highest standards of corporate governance. I-T officials, however, refused to give any amount which has been found as illegal deposit in the said Axis Bank branch.
Meanwhile, the Central Board of Direct Taxes, on Friday clarified that the department will not reopen past cases “merely” on the ground that their current year’s turnover has increased in the wake of spurt in digital payments after demonetisation.