I-T department seizes Rs 62-crore cash after raids on hawala operatives 

They alleged that the money is unaccounted and has been seized from various premises including those belonging to a person identified as Sanjay Jain.
Image used for representational purpose only
Image used for representational purpose only

NEW DELHI: The Income Tax Department has made a seizure of at least Rs 62 crore in cash as part of its multi-city tax evasion operation against hawala or entry operators and individuals who prepare fake bills, official sources said on Wednesday.

They alleged that the money is unaccounted and has been seized from various premises including those belonging to a person identified as Sanjay Jain.

The seizure is linked to the searches launched by the department at 42 premises in Delhi-NCR, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa on Monday and the taxman had said that the alleged illegal transactions point to a hawala racket worth about Rs 500 crore.

The cash, in crisp Rs 2000 and Rs 500 notes, was found stashed in wooden almirahs and furniture at the premises that were raided, they said.

The CBDT had earlier said that the action was carried out against "a large network of individuals running the racket of entry operation (hawala-like operation) and generation of huge cash through fake billing", officials said.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Board had said that Rs 2.37 crore cash and jewellery worth Rs 2.89 crore was found along with 17 bank lockers which are yet to be searched.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is the administrative authority for the I-T department.

"The search has led to seizure of evidences exposing the entire network of the entry operators, intermediaries, cash handlers, the beneficiaries and the firms and companies involved.

"So far, documents evidencing accommodation entries (hawala) of more than Rs 500 crore have already been found and seized," it said.

Several shell entities and firms were used by the searched entry operators for layering of unaccounted money and cash withdrawals against fake bills issued and unsecured loans given, the Board said.

Describing the modus operandi of the tax evasion racket, it had said personal staff, employees, associates had been made dummy directors and partners of these shell entities and all bank accounts were managed and controlled by these entry operators.

"Statements of such entry operators, their dummy partners/employees, the cash handlers as well as the covered beneficiaries have also been recorded, clearly validating the entire money trail," the statement said.

"The searched persons were also found to be controller and beneficial owners of several bank accounts and lockers, opened in names of their family members and trusted employees and shell entities, which they were managing in collusion with bank officials, through digital media," it said.

The CBDT further said the beneficiaries have been found to have made huge investments in real estate properties in prime cities and in fixed deposits to the tune of several hundred crores of rupees.

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The New Indian Express