The government is closely monitoring around nine lakh registered companies that had stopped filing annual tax returns with the Corporate Affairs Ministry after their registration, Union Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said on Saturday.
"Out of 15 lakh registered companies, only six lakh are filing annual income tax returns. Eight to nine lakh companies stopped filing any returns after their registration and they have become a potential threat of money laundering," he said in his address at the Enforcement Directorate Day here.
He also said that a task force set up by the Prime Minister Office is also monitoring these companies closely on a fortnight basis.
"We have given notice to some of these companies considering them a big source of money laundering and are in close coordination with the task force set up by the PMO."
Adhia said that Rs 6,000 crore Bank of Baroda case has given clear indication that trade-based money laundering is prominent these days, being illegally done by shell companies.
In a major countrywide crackdown on shell companies, the government in February had decided to take "harsh punitive" action, including freezing of their bank accounts used to launder money or evade taxes and the Enforcement Directorate took action accordingly, attaching crores of movable and immovable assets of these shell companies and arresting many offenders in the last two months.
The agency has also attached assets worth Rs 11,286 crore and launched prosecution in 104 cases under Prevention of Money Laundering Act during 2016-17.
On the occasion, the Revenue Secretary also praised Enforcement Directorate's work and assured the agency of increasing its manpower and enabling it in modern technology to improve the monitoring system.
"As far as ED work is concerned, it has important role to play for a tax-compliant economy. We are trying to improve the man power of the agency and enable it with central monitoring system and information technology," Adhia said.
He later congratulated the Enforcement Directorate officers J.P. Singh, Satyendra Singh, Raju Amlani, V. Karthikeyan, Manbar Singh, Aijaz Husain and other who were to be felicitated by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
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