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The income-tax (I-T) department is planning to initiate criminal prosecution against 30 individuals for allegedly amassing undisclosed wealth of aroun Rs 500 crore during demonetisation for purposes of tax evasion. Of the 30 cases, the tax department has filed its first criminal prosecution against a Mumbai-based trader for allegedly using a duplicate permanent account number for depositing over Rs 3 crore. In the petition, the tax department has submitted evidence in the form of closed-circuit television footage, bank account details and transactions to the Mumbai court. According to the tax official, the accused had deposited cash over 10 transactions with the help of his co-workers and had also attempted to erase the deposit records from the books. Confirming the development, a senior tax official said: “We are initiating prosecution where sufficient evidence is available. The modus operandi has varied in cases. These include cash seizures during searches to check irregularities in deposits and huge cash deposits in bank accounts, which are at variance with the tax filings.” According to him, the tax department has completed the investigation in four-five major cases and will start prosecution against the said offenders this week. The Central Board of Direct Taxes, a governing body of the I-T department, is said to have directed its field offices to not spare cases of alleged tax evasion in its searches in deposits under Operation Clean Money after demonetisation and file court cases as well. Under the income-tax laws, a court conviction for tax offences can lead to imprisonment of up to seven years, in addition to penalty on the tax evaded.
The charge sheets have been filed by the taxmen, largely under three sections of the I-T Act such as 276 CC (not filing return of income), section 276B (not depositing tax deducted at source in time) and section 276C (1) (wilful attempt to evade taxes).
| Operation Clean money |
200 plus: No. of searches conducted by taxmen in the past 15 days
Rs 500 crore: Tax evasion during demonetisation (November 8, 2016-March 13, 2017)
30: No. of individuals to be tried for amassing undisclosed wealth
5,000 plus: No. of notices issued to individuals, entities
March 31, 2017: Black money disclosure window deadline