Huge quantity of jewellery, cash, incriminating documents seized
Hoteliers, liquor barons, LoC traders covered in Jammu, Srinagar, Katra
JAMMU, Mar 14: In a first-ever major crackdown on the tax evaders in Jammu and Kashmir, the Investigation Wing of the Income Tax Department today carried out simultaneous raids in over 40 business premises and residences in twin capital cities and holy town of Katra and seized huge quantity of jewellery, cash and incriminating documents.
More such raids are likely in the coming days as Income Tax Department is in the possession of a long list of habitual tax evaders and there are strict instructions from the top brass for tightening noose around such persons so as to bring them in the ambit of regular and honest tax payers.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that during the past several months the Investigation Wing of the Income Tax Department was gathering information through different means about habitual tax evaders in respect of not only Jammu and Kashmir but other States of the country as well.
Accordingly, the State-wise lists of the habitual tax evaders were prepared and finally it was decided to go whole-hog against them so as to break their myth that they would continue to doge the Income Tax Department without being punished for the same.
In order to take action against habitual tax evaders of Jammu and Kashmir, around 200 sleuths from Investigation Wing of the Income Tax Department from different parts of North India reached Jammu and Srinagar yesterday and accordingly request was made to the concerned authorities for deployment of required number of Central Para-Military Forces personnel for smooth conduct of raids, sources said.
“From early this morning simultaneous raids were started in over 40 business premises and residences of habitual tax evaders in Jammu, Srinagar and Katra”, sources said, adding the raids were planned so discreetly that only some selected officers of the J&K Circle of the Income Tax Department had prior information about the same while others came to know about the same only when the teams were dispatched to different locations.
Several top hoteliers, those dealing in real estate business, big contractors, liquor barons, owners of shopping complexes and cross-LoC (Line of Control) traders were targeted during the raids, which continued till late this evening amidst tight security arrangements, sources said while disclosing that there was hardly any business establishment or residence of these tax evaders where huge number of incriminating documents were not found by the raiding parties.
The Income Tax Department sleuths also seized huge quantity of jewellery and cash from several tax evaders besides gathering details about their bank accounts and those opened on the names of their family members, sources informed, adding the preliminary scrutiny of the impounded documents revealed evasion of tax in several crores of rupees.
“The exact picture vis-a-vis tax evasion will come to the fore following detailed examination of the seized incriminating documents in the coming days after which noose would be further tightened against these tax evaders”, they further said, adding “majority of the hoteliers and liquor barons whose premises were raided today were paying meagre tax during the past many years by concealing exact income”.
They further said, “the general trend which came to the fore during the raids is that majority of the tax evaders were diverting the money to the real estate business, which is flourishing at a past pace in the length and breadth of the State”, adding “some hoteliers and contractors have raised huge structures by using the black money, which is evident from the fact that loan obtained by them from the banks is far less than the actual investments”.
Similarly, several cross-LoC traders were found concealing the maximum portion of their profits and diverting the same to other business activities particularly real estate. “Majority of these tax evaders were under the impression that they would go scot free by paying meagre tax but today’s major exercise has made it clear that Income Tax Department can go to any extent in compelling each and every citizen to pay tax as per exact income”, sources said.
Top brass of the Investigation Wing of the Income Tax Department for North India were obtaining information about the raids after regular intervals directly from those heading the raiding teams in order to ensure that entire exercise culminates successfully.
Disclosing that more such raids are likely in other parts of the State in coming days, sources said, “there is a long list of tax evaders and there are clear instructions that nobody should be spared”, adding “these evaders have compelled the IT sleuths to knock at their doors by ignoring repeated appeals for disclosing exact income and paying taxes accordingly”.
The first ever major crackdown on the tax evaders was launched a day before the last date for fourth instalment of advance tax for the assessment year 2019-20, sources said.