Government to slap criminal cases on black money suspects

12 February 2015

The union government announced today that its 'crusade' against black money stashed abroad will now focus on criminal proceedings.

A government statement said that to build ''credible deterrence'' against the generation of untaxed money, the Income Tax Department was shifting focus from civil to criminal proceedings for cases of serious evasion.

''Focus of investigation in the Income Tax Department had so far been on civil consequences i.e. revenue augmentation… In its crusade against black money and with a view to have credible deterrence against generation of black money, the Government has shifted the focus to successfully prosecute the offenders in shortest possible time,'' the statement said.

The change in strategy comes in the wake up of the Income-Tax Department serving notices on the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party seeking information about allegedly non-genuine contributors of fund.

The notices were issued on Monday, a day before the Delhi Assembly election results were declared. The department said on Wednesday the notices were issued as part of the probe against companies suspected of money-laundering.

During the current year from April to December 2014, the Income Tax Department filed 628 prosecution complaints, the statement said. Of which, 56 relate to offences concerning undisclosed foreign income, it said.

During the same period, the Income Tax Department conducted 414 searches and seized undisclosed assets of Rs582 crore. During such searches, the tax payers admitted to undisclosed income of Rs.6,769 crore. The undisclosed income detected as a result of further enquiries is greater, the release further said.

In addition to the searches, the department also conducted 1174 surveys in the period April to November 2014 which led to the detection of undisclosed income of Rs4,673 crore.

A wilful attempt to evade tax is a serious offence punishable under Section 276C of the Income Tax Act, 1961 with imprisonment up to seven years and a fine, the release pointed out.

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