Funny money: I-T issues 3,000 notices; seizures worth Rs393 cr

17 December 2016

The Income Tax department has issued around 3,000 notices to assessees for unmatched deposits in bank accounts, while it has seized a total of Rs393 crore in cash and jewellery over the past five weeks.

Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chairman Sushil Chandra said on Friday that since the demonetisation announcement on 8 November, it has come to its notice that people have been unscrupulously trying to convert their black money holdings in cash into white by depositing it in bank accounts.

"After the demonetisation, we collected information almost on a real time basis. Based on information screening we have conducted search and seizures in about 291 cases. We have carried out surveys in 295 cases. We have also issued around 3,000 notices on the basis of deposits in bank accounts," Chandra told reporters here.

During this period, the total cash seizures amount to Rs316 crore, of which new currency is above Rs80 crore and jewellery seizure is Rs76 crore - making the total seizure worth Rs393 crore. The admitted concealed income on the basis of these surveys is Rs2,600 crore, he said.

The common routes for misuse include using cash for purchase of bullion, jewellery, back-dating of cash transactions, depositing cash in multiple accounts just below Rs2.50 lakh, depositing cash in Jan Dhan accounts, dormant and shell company accounts and use of cash for repayment of loans.

Chandra said CBDT is collecting data of all bank accounts, and analysing this data with the existing Income Tax data.

"So the assessees should know that their deposits in bank accounts are being watched. We are examining whether it is explained money or not. Therefore they should come very, very clean under this scheme which is the last window available for anyone," he said.

Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said that within a month's time banks will accumulate PAN numbers of all account holders except for Jan Dhan accounts.

He said in 12 cases of "unscrupulous conversion" of old notes into new currency, the Central Bureau of Investigation has filed First Information Reports, while Enforcement Directorate has filed 17 cases of money laundering.

Ever since the cancellation as legal tender of Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes on 8 November, people have been queueing up at banks to deposit the now-defunct currencies.

As per Reserve Bank of India data, over Rs12.44 lakh crore worth of the scrapped currency has been deposited till 10 December. As per estimates, there was Rs15.44 lakh crore worth of high value currency in the system on 8 November.

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