Income Tax sleuths are carrying out surveys on jewellers and suspected hawala operators across the country.
According to the latest reports, nearly 50 Income Tax officials knocked on the doors of bullion traders and hawala operators on Netaji Subash Chandra Bose Road (NSC Bose Road) in Chennai late on Friday.
They reportedly got a tip-off that the demonetized currency notes were being traded secretly.
A senior official from the Income Tax Department confirmed to The Hindu about the ‘surveys’ and said 12 shops were searched.
The officers had been strictly instructed not to disclose the names of the shops being searched. “We will be able to give information only after the searches are over,” he said.
Similarly, in Punjab’s Ludhiana I-T officials swooped on jewellery shops as people having uncounted stash of lakh and crores thronged these shops to purchase gold. Raids were conducted at Nikkamal Jewellers, Jamna Das Nikkamal and other Jewellers at Mall Road, Rani Jhansi Road and College Road.
However, the department didn’t reveal the details, but sources told that the jewellers were selling gold in back date and the bill being given was of less than Rs 2 lakh for which the Income Tax department does not maintain record.
Sources said the jewellers were selling gold for a much higher rate of even 60 per cent premium than the market price.
“We are keeping a watch on illegal transactions. I can only say that legal and honest taxpayers have nothing to worry about,” Satish Chandra, chairperson, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) told Business Standard, but did not specify details of survey operations.
Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia clarified that only surveys were being conducted by the tax department and not ‘raids’ as feared earlier in the day.
Raids are used in common parlance, but in the tax lexicon there is no such expression. It is either search or a survey. While in search, any premises of the assessee — residences, shops, offices or any other place can be entered, in survey only shops, factories and godowns can be entered. There are other differences as well.
The surveys by the tax department were aimed at plugging loopholes being exploited by several black money holders to get rid of scrapped notes. These were conducted by taxmen in several parts of Delhi, mainly Karol Bagh, Dariba Kalan, Chandni Chowk, Zaveri Bazar in Mumbai, Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Jammu and Jalandhar.
Following these surveys, gold and jewellery establishments remained closed in the national capital and other cities.