Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. (Reuters)
The Income Tax department carried out over 1100 searches and surveys immediately after demonetisation and detected undisclosed income of over Rs 5,400 crore, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told the Rajya Sabha today. He added that more follow-up action was taken and 18 lakh people were identified whose tax profiles were not in line with the cash deposits made by them in the demonetisation period and onlines responses were sought.
Jaitley gave these details during the Question Hour, where he claimed that no other government had taken so much action against black money as the present regime. He said the Reserve Bank was verifying the exact amount that was deposited during the demonetisation period and the precise figure would be presented before the nation.
He also said that there is no official estimation of black money parked abroad but added that information is received from different channels and action including criminal proceedings where required is taken accordingly. SP member Naresh Agrawal had raised the matter related to action against black money and said people had been promised that they would get Rs 15 lakh in their accounts.
In his reply, said, “Post-demonetisation, during the period November 9, 2016 to January 10, 2017, more than 1100 searches and surveys were conducted by the Income Tax Department, apart from issuing more than 5100 verification notices in the cases of suspicious high value cash deposits or related activities.”
These actions led to seizure of valuables of more than Rs 610 crore which includes cash of Rs 513 crore, he said. “Seizure in cash in new currency was about Rs 110 crore. The undisclosed income detected in these actions was more than Rs 5400 crore,” Jaitley said.
He said that the IT Department had undertaken “Operation Clean Money” to leverage Technology and data analytics for verification of deposits during the demonetisation period. Under this about 18 lakh persons have been identified whose tax profiles were prima facie not in line with the cash deposits made by them in the demonetisation period.
He said online response has been sought in such cases and over 12 lakh responses have been received from more than 8.38 PANs or persons. He said Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA) had made concerted efforts in the last three years.
“Till February 2017, while 23064 searches and survetys were conducted (IT 17525, Customs 2509, Central Excise 1913, Service Tax 1120), more than Rs 1.37 lakh crore of undisclosed income/tax evasion was detected (IT 69434, Customs 11405, Central Excise 13,952, Service Tax 42727). Simultaneously criminal peroceedings were launched in 2814 cases (Income Tax 1966, Customs 526, Central Excise 293, Service Tax 29) and 3893 persoms were placed under arrest (Customs 3782, Central Excise 47, Service Tax 64),” the minister said.
The Enforcement Directorate intensified its anti-money launcdering actions by registering 519 cases and conducting 396 searches. Arrests were made in 79 cases and properties worth Rs 14,933 crore were attached, he said.
He said the Benami prohibitiuon law had remained inoperative for 28 years was made operational from Nobvember 2016.
“More than 245 benami properties have already been identified. Provisional attachments of properties worth Rs 5.5 crore have already been made in 124 cases,” he said.
He said agencies have also launched a crackdown against shell companies engaged in nefarious activities.
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has issued more than a lakh notices for striking off names of defunct or non compliant companies, the minister said.
A High powered group has been set up for coordinating and monitoring the actions taken by departments concerned with the objectibve of eliminating the conduits of black money generation and application.
In his reply, Jaitley said the investigations into the information on 628 Indian persons allegedly holding accounts in HSBC Bank in Switzerland received from the Government of France under Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC) led to taxation of undisclosed income of about Rs 8400 crore in 409 cases (including protecting assessments in some cases).
Besides, concealment penalty of Rs 1,287 crore was levied in 161 cases and 190 criminal prosecutions were filed in 77 criminal cases.
He said that investigations into information pertaining to Indian persons allegedly linked to offshore entities based in no tax or low tax jurisdictions put into public domain by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) have led to detection of more than Rs 8500 crore of credits in undisclosed foreign accounts, 66 prosecution complaints in 30 such cases have been filed before criminal courts, he said.
648 disclosures involving undislosed foreign assets worth Rs 4614 crore were made in the one time three months compliance window closed on September 30, 2015 under the Black money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015. The amount collected by way of tax and penalty in such cases was about Rs 2,476 crore, he said.