I-T dept raids hawala operatives across Punjab, Haryana, Delhi

The searches were carried out on Monday on 42 premises in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi-NCR, Uttarakhand and Goa, it says

I-T dept raids hawala operatives across Punjab, Haryana, Delhi

Photo for representation only. iStock

New Delhi, October 27

The Income Tax Department has recovered cash and jewellery worth about Rs 5.26 crore after it carried out multi-city raids against hawala operators and individuals who prepare fake bills, the CBDT said on Tuesday.

The searches were carried out on Monday on 42 premises in Delhi-NCR, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa, it said.

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.

During the raids, Rs 2.37 crore in cash and jewellery worth Rs 2.89 crore has been found along with 17 bank lockers which are yet to be searched, the CBDT said in a statement.

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 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 the bank officials, through the digital media," it said. This is being further investigated, it added.

The CBDT said the beneficiaries had 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. PTI

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