Hawala operators, bullion traders face I-T heat

  • Nation, Published on: Friday 11th November 16 - 10:05am

The IT searches followed “specific and definitive information” against at least a dozen hawala operators and jewellers.

The Income Tax Department on Thursday conducted searches in Mumbai and Delhi on hawala operators and bullion traders found accepting demonetised currency.

The IT searches followed “specific and definitive information” against at least a dozen hawala operators and jewellers suspected to be dealing in demonetised currency in return for gold, sources said.

“The raids began on Wednesday night itself,” an I-T official told The Hindu, confirming that there were definite raids in Noida. “They were not random raids, but planned ones against those suspected of indulging in these illegal activities.”

“The monitoring in the cooperative banks is loose, and chances of manipulation and back-dated entries is high,” another official said. “But mainly, the searches were restricted to hawala operators in Mumbai region acting on definite information of large-scale malpractices.”

The gems and jewellers associations, however, denied any raids or pressure from the Income Tax department. The jewellers have been taking necessary steps to support the “bold move” initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they said.

Jewellers deny I-T raids, term Modi move ‘bold’

The gems and jewellers associations on Thursday denied any searches or pressure from the I-T department, over alleged underhand deals following the demonetisation move. The jewellers have been taking necessary steps to support the “bold move” initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they said.

“As of today, not a single member of our association has been raided for any violations,” said Kumar Jain, vice-president of the Mumbai Jewellers Association.

Ashok Minawala, director of the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation said there were no major searches in the market, and the last raids conducted were in September during the final phases of the Income Disclosure Scheme (IDS). “Today there were no raids,” he said.

Allowed for utility bills

Meanwhile, the Centre announced on Thursday that electricity, water and telephone bills can continued to be paid with old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes till November 11.

The old notes will be accepted for payment of fees, charges, taxes and penalties to the Central and State governments, including municipalities and local bodies, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said.