NEW DELHI | MUMBAI: The government’s email address for black money tipoffs has been flooded with 4,000 messages since Friday, when blackmoneyinfo@incometax. gov.in was made public. “We are getting a good response,” a finance ministry official told ET.
That’s in addition to vast amounts of data flowing to tax authorities and other investigative agencies on a daily basis about deposits in bank accounts and other undeclared income through the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), part of the finance ministry. The government is already acting on the FIU information. “The system is capturing a lot of data,” the official said. “We are able to get daily reports on deposits made and that is the reason agencies have been able to carry out focussed action.”
The allegations contained in the emails will boost the government’s ongoing efforts to root out black money. Income tax and enforcement directorate officials have been conducting raids across the country unearthing old and new currency apart from jewellery and other high-value items. Several bank officials have also been detained, suspended or sacked for swapping old notes with new without authorisation. The information received relates to deposits in Jan Dhan and urban cooperative bank accounts, loan repayments, credit card payments, electronic transfers, withdrawals, among others.
Information also poured in regarding high-value purchases including jewellery, luxury goods and realty. Companies showing high cash balances could also come under the taxman’s radar.
Given the amount of data the government has, the belief that all money deposited in banks has been converted into legitimate wealth may be misplaced as banks have been taking note of unusual deposits and alerting authorities.
For instance, the alleged wrongdoing by employees was reported by the banks themselves to the FIU and the information was then used by other investigation agencies, officials said.
State Bank of India, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and others have been getting large deposits after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on November 8 that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes would cease to be legal tender.
All banks are required to report suspicious transactions to the FIU. It could not be independently verified how many banks have sent alerts.
The government unveiled the whistleblower email last Friday along with the rules for the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana income declaration scheme for people to send information about possible money laundering.
“People who have knowledge of money launderers can give direct information to us,” revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia had said.