The government cautioned on Friday that the misuse of accounts of housewives, artisans and employees or Jan Dhan accounts to convert black money into new denomination notes would invite prosecution under the Income Tax Act and would be subject to tax and penalty.
A statement issued by the finance ministry said, "A person who allows his or her account to be misused for this purpose can be prosecuted for abetment under the Income Tax Act." Such tax evasion activities can be made subject to income tax scrutiny and a penalty will be imposed if it is established that the amount deposited was not of the account holder, it added.
The statement, however, clarified that genuine persons having their household savings in cash and depositing the same in banks would not be questioned. The government had earlier announced that common citizens would not be harassed for any deposit up to Rs2.5 lakh in their bank accounts.
"There are some reports that people are using other persons' bank accounts to convert their black money into new denomination notes," it said. The clarification was issued after the finance ministry received intelligence reports that rewards were being offered to account holders who allowed their accounts to be misused. "This activity is reported in case of Jan Dhan accounts also," the statement said.
The government urged citizens to help the government in its drive to curb black money and asked them to inform the I-T department if such illegal activities came to their notice, promising that immediate action would be taken against any illegal transfer of cash. "Black money is a crime against humanity. We urge every conscientious citizen to join the government in eradicating it," it said.
A notification issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said all cash deposits between 9 November and 30 December - the window to deposit demonetised currency notes - should be reported by 31 January. The requirement for banks to report cash deposits in current accounts is Rs12.50 lakh in one or more current accounts of a person.