The Income Tax department's investigation wing in the north-east region (NER) on Friday carried out searches on some businessmen in Meghalaya found to be involved in running a web of petrol pumps managed and controlled as benami properties.
"These persons were depriving the State Government of legitimate revenue by suppressing sales and non-deposit of local taxes collected, while also indulging in massive evasion of income tax by misusing exemption under Section 10(26) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 meant for tribal persons," the probe department said in an official statement.
In the enforcement operation that commenced in the early hours on Friday and went on till wee hours of Saturday, more than Rs 2 crore of unaccounted cash along with incriminating documents were seized. The cash found was hidden in unexpected places like water tanks.
"This search by the department was a much-needed action on a long-existing racket run by some unscrupulous elements exploiting local citizens of Meghalaya and avoiding paying income tax using tribal persons who are exempted from income tax, as a front," it read.
The pre-search investigation involved extensive surveillance and covert enquiries which were continuing for over a year.
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