*Process of collecting data from banks near completion
JAMMU, Feb 28: Tightening noose around the evaders of tax post-demonetization, the Income Tax Department today carried out surveys in the premises of three businessmen in Jammu and Kathua districts and laid hands on several incriminating documents which clearly established continuous illegal activities on their part.
Reliable sources told EXCELSIOR that on the directions of Principal Commissioner of Income Tax, J&K Circle, Sangeeta Gupta, the sleuths of Income Tax Department carried out simultaneous surveys in three business establishments in Jammu and Kathua districts.
In Jammu, the surveys were conducted in the establishments of businessmen dealing with real-estate on Narwal Bye-Pass and wholesale Karyana at Gangyal while as in Kathua district a petrol pump owner of Hiranagar town was targeted.
“From all these three places, the sleuths of Income Tax Department recovered incriminating documents, which clearly established that the businessmen were still concealing income despite making deposits of huge cash in their bank accounts post-demonetization”, sources said, adding “these businessmen were of the opinion that by depositing demonetized currency in their bank accounts they have escaped the clutches of the Income Tax Department”.
Sources informed that huge cash deposited by these businessmen post-demonetization was under the scanner of the Income Tax Department and after minutely scrutinizing the details vis-à-vis cash deposits obtained from the banks and returns filed by them in the preceding years the department decided to conduct surveys.
“There was huge mismatch between the income reflected in the returns filed during the preceding years and the cash deposited following the landmark decision of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi”, sources said, adding “the most astonishing aspect is that these businessmen were not ready to avail the benefit of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, which was notified by Union Finance Ministry on December 16, 2016 and it is applicable till March 31, 2017, even after depositing huge demonetized money in their respective bank accounts”.
Sources disclosed that after being caught completely in the dragnet of the Income Tax Department, the businessmen dealing with real estate and wholesale Karyana agreed to avail the benefit of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana while as petrol pump owner of Hiranagar late tonight conveyed to the senior officers of the Income Tax Department that he will approach them tomorrow for availing the benefit of this scheme.
“This is for the first time that some businessmen have come forward to avail benefit of PMGKY that too after tightening of noose around them although awareness in this regard was generated by the top officers of the Income Tax Department in the length and breadth of Jammu and Kashmir soon after announcement regarding demonetization”, sources said.
It is pertinent to mention here that those who declare cash deposits, made in an account with bank or post office or with a specified entity, under this scheme will be levied a charge of 50%, which breaks down into 30% tax, 33% surcharge and 10% penalty.
In addition to this, 25% of the amount declared will go into the non interest-bearing Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Deposit Scheme for four years and part of PMGKY’s proceeds will be used for the benefit of the poor.
The declarations under PMGKY will be confidential and will not be admissible as evidence under any Act-Central Excise Act, Wealth-Tax Act, Companies Act etc and those taking advantage of this scheme will escape prosecution. However, no immunity will be available under criminal acts mentioned in Section 199-O of the Scheme.
“Those who fail to take advantage of the scheme and caught later will face up to 85% penalty, besides prosecution”, official sources said.
A senior officer of the Income Tax Department said that more such surveys will be conducted in the coming days as department has almost received information from all the banks about huge cash deposits post demonetization.
“It is a matter of serious concern for the department that even small traders have deposited huge cash in their bank accounts post-demonetization”, he said, adding “this indicates the level of evasion of income tax in Jammu and Kashmir. However, we will leave no stone unturned to tighten noose around such persons and either they will have to avail PMGKY or face the music”.
It may be recalled that post-demonetization action was started by the department on February 22, 2017 and at that time EXCELSIOR had exclusively reported that more such harsh steps would be taken by the Income Tax Department in near future.