Rs 1,516 Cr unexplained income post demonetisation in Northeast
4,003 people from the NE region are yet to reply to IT department’s query post demonetisation; they may face action according to officials
After the much-talked-about demonetisation exercise which the central government brought about in 2016 to check black money, the income tax department (northeast region) has found that Rs 1,516.49 crores which was deposited in bank accounts by 4,003 persons is unexplained income.
A total of 11,545 people across the northeast who had deposited more than Rs 10 lakhs in their bank accounts after demonetisation, were sent notices by the income tax department to explain the source of income and to pay taxes on the amount. The total amount deposited by 11,545 people was Rs 4,565.74 crores.
However, out of these, 4,003 have still not replied to the income tax department notices which were sent post demonetisation, informed officials.
“All of these 4,003 people had deposited cash above Rs 10 lakhs in their bank accounts. Apart from them, there will be many more people who have deposited money below Rs 10 lakhs too,” informed a senior official in the income tax department, northeast region (NER).
According to authorities, the notices were sent in two stages; in the first stage, a query letter was sent where people were asked to explain the source of income. Further, in the second stage, notice under section 142 was issued to file tax return on the income.
“If people still do not reply to the query letter till March 31 and file tax returns then the IT department will take action against such individuals,” Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, NER, Kavita Jha, told G Plus.
The department is expecting responses by those who would fail to reply by March 31. Further, explaining about the procedure of action which can be taken against them, officials mentioned that they will get assessment notices and if they don’t reply to the assessment notices, then they will get the assessment orders where tax demand will be created.
After this, they may face attachment of bank accounts and properties and finally prosecution too.
In the tax recovery proceedings, bank accounts may be attached, financial assets and other immoveable and moveable properties will be attached to the extent of the tax demand.
“If people don’t reply then the cash deposits will be treated as unexplained income, since people have the responsibility to explain the source and if they don’t explain, it will be treated as unexplained income and tax will be imposed on that at the maximum rate and they will not receive any relief on that,” informed an official.
Authorities further informed that even out of those who have replied to the department’s query, some cases have been selected for scrutiny since either their income profile doesn’t match the amount of cash deposited, or in business cases, maybe the turnover doesn’t match with the deposited amount. These cases, too, will also be subjected to scrutiny.
“Those who haven’t replied should do so at the earliest, otherwise they may face penal and other consequences,” said a senior official.
The income tax department of the northeast region has five commissionarates, out of which three are located in Assam.
I-T department increases manpower deployment for elections
With a view to keep a check on the expenditures related to the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections the income tax department of the northeast region has increased the additional deployment of personnel to 164.
These income tax inspectors will be spread across Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Nagaland. The deployment order of the additional manpower was issued by the investigation wing of the NER.
Explaining the modus operandi, principal director of income tax of northeast region (investigation), Sanjay Bahadur said, “During elections we have flying squads and static surveillance teams who keep a check on large amounts of money being exchanged. They will ascertain if the money is directly political money. Once the money is seized, it is then verified if it is from a declared source or undisclosed income.”
He added that the department has identified “high risk areas” and have deployed personnel close to these areas. Currently, 55 surveillance teams have been put in place across northeast in 112 districts.
The investigation directorate teams will monitor movement of large sums of cash or other items suspected to be used for bribing of electors and on the basis of Information or complaint, will conduct independent enquiry against any person indulging in such acts. They will also verify affidavits declaring assets and liabilities filed by the candidates before ECI and election expenses by any candidate or political party.
Further, control rooms have been set up in every state which are headed by an officer of the department.
For Assam, the toll-free complaint number is 18003453561 and the mobile and WhatsApp number is 94351107891.
Complaints or information regarding movement of large sums of cash and other items suspected to be used for bribing voters during elections will be monitored from the Centre, said an official.
Air intelligence units set up
With the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the income tax department has set up air intelligence units across northeast to keep a check on the flow of black money during elections.
Speaking to G Plus, Principal Director of Income Tax of northeast region (Investigation), Sanjay Bahadur, said that whenever a person checks into any airport, their baggage goes for a scanner.
“If it is suspected that there is a substantial amount of cash, then the bag is opened and the money is checked.
Normally, amounts of more than two lakhs is identified and the passenger is allowed to fly with the cash but in the receiving airport, the air intelligence people will intercept them and if the amount is undisclosed, it is seized,” said Bahadur.
He added that 12 air intelligence units have been set up across northeast especially for election purpose.
“Otherwise, regularly we monitor Guwahati airport and we have a set up in Agartala,” informed Bahadur.