In the major crackdown post the demonetisation, the Income Tax department seized more than ₹ 4 crore of new notes on Thursday during the search operation on several location in Bengaluru and other spaces. The searches officials said were launched on the property of two engineers working with the state government, and some “connected persons”.
A squad of more than 50 IT sleuths and police officials launched the operations early morning. “During the course of searches ₹ 4.7 crore cash in new denominations of ₹ 2000 and 0.3 crore in old/smaller denominations totaling ₹ 5 crore and 7 kg bullion worth about ₹ 2 crore were found in a flat owned by a civil contractor.
“The new notes and bullion are learnt to have been obtained by exchange of demonetized notes by payment of commission of an engineer and a contractor,” the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the policy-making body of the tax department, said in a statement.
The sleuths also detained some notes of ₹100, demonetised notes of ₹ 500 and a few gold biscuits during the operation. The department had to use note counting machines and other staff to ascertain the worth of the cash.
But what brought more surprise to the the tax authorities was the huge amount of new notes stashed by these individuals at a time when people are having tough time in withdrawing even a smaller sum.
“This is the highest seizure of the new currency in the country post the currency ban on November 8. Some entry operators and bankers in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are under the scanner. Such volume of new currency cannot be obtained without connivance of bank officials,” said a senior IT department official as per a report in News18.
The department has also found identity cards of many individuals from the searched premises. It could have been used to illegitimately change the old currency with new ones. Documents of property purchase from the premises were also seized.
“The investigation is still in progress and the search action is still continuing in ten premises,” the CBDT statement added.
Lately, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had seized ₹ 10 lakh cash in new notes of ₹ 2000 from a Kolkata-based doctor.
The agency conducted countrywide search operations at 40 locations on Wednesday and seized about ₹ 1 crore in new notes. Both the IT department and the ED, together with other enforcement agencies and police, are undertaking these operations following the reports of instances of illegal exchange of old currency and stashing of new currency notes to pull off money laundering like activities.