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How was info on high-value declarants leaked?

 M Post Bureau |  2016-12-05 00:38:17.0  |  New Delhi

How was info on high-value declarants leaked?

The Income Tax department on Sunday rejected an astonishing Rs 2 lakh crore disclosure by a Mumbai family as well as the controversial Rs 13,860 crore by an Ahmedabad businessman under the Income Disclosure Scheme that closed in September and a probe is on against them to determine the intention behind their false claims.

The million dollar question is how was the info on these high-value declarants leaked to begin with, given that one of the foundations of this income declaration scheme is confidentiality of the one coming clean on his/her undisclosed income.

Ahmedabad-based property dealer Mahesh Shah, who made a sensational claim that he was used as a front to declare Rs 13,860 crore under the Income Declaration Scheme (IDS), was allowed to go home on Sunday morning after night-long interrogation by senior I-T personnel.

Officials said the process of recording his statement is likely to continue on Monday even as city police deployed two guards outside his residence apprehending security threat.

“Shah’s statement has been recorded partially. During the interrogation, he was provided adequate rest looking at his medical condition. As per his request, the process of recording his statement temporarily concluded today morning,” said Director of Investigations in I-T department P C Mody.

Shah shot into limelight after he declared Rs 13,860 crore under the IDS, which closed on September 30. He was picked up from the office of a regional channel for questioning on Saturday.

“The process of recording his statement will resume, may be tomorrow. He has just replied to our questions related to the search (at his residence). He has left for home. I can not reveal any further details as investigations are in progress,” Mody added.

Shah, who went missing after I-T department searched his residence a few days back, appeared in the studio of a local news channel on Saturday for an interview. Later, he was taken away by I-T officials from there.

During the interview, Shah claimed he made the declaration out of compulsion and for commission.

“The amount of Rs 13,860 crore I declared under IDS was not mine, will tell the names of those behind it before Income Tax officials.... I will disclose everything soon. I have committed a mistake but I will reveal everything soon,” Shah said on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the government has revised upwards the total illicit wealth disclosed in the one-time window to Rs 67,382 crore as against Rs 65,250 crore estimated earlier.

“Among the declarations received, there were two sets of declarations of high value which were not taken on record in the above figure because these declarations were found to be suspicious in nature being filed by persons of small means,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

A family of four declarants namely, Abdul Razzaque Mohammed Sayed (self), Mohammed Aarif Abdul Razzaque Sayed (son), Rukhsana Abdul Razzaque Sayed (wife) and Noorjahan Mohammed Sayed (sister), who were shown as residents of Flat no. 4, Ground Floor, Jubilee Court, 269-B, T.P.S-III, Linking Road, Bandra (W), Mumbai, filed a total declaration of Rs 2 lakh crore, it said.

“Therefore, after due consideration, the Income Tax Department decided by 30th November 2016, to reject these two sets of declarations of Rs 2 lakh crore and Rs 13,860 crore respectively. The Department has since commenced inquiries against these declarants to determine the intention behind these false declarations,” it added.

On October 1, it was announced that declarations totalling Rs 65,250 crore were received from 64,275 declarants, subject to reconciliation. After final reconciliation, the revised figure of actual declarations received and taken on record was Rs 67,382 crore which had been made by 71,726 declarants.

The revised figure will fetch government a little over Rs 30,000 crore direct tax revenue.

In case of the Mumbai family disclosure, the statement said, three out of the four PAN numbers were originally in Ajmer which were migrated to Mumbai in September 2016, where the declarations were filed.

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram in a tweet said: “There is a Rs 13,860 crore hole in the Rs 65,000 crore IDS! How many more holes.” 

The statement said these declarations from Mumbai and Ahmedabad were kept pending for investigation about the genuineness of the same and were not included in the total value of declarations announced on October 1. After due inquiry it was found that these declarants were persons of suspicious nature and very small means and the declarations could have been misused, it said.

The Department has commenced inquiries against these declarants, it said.

Kolkata hawai chappal dealer has over `30 crore in undisclosed income

Of the Rs 65,000 crore disclosed under the Income Declaration Scheme (IDS), 34 companies/ individual traders from the Bengal circle alone ( that includes North- East) have declared income in excess of Rs 30 crore individually according to IT sources. 

The office of  the DG Investigations( Bengal Circle) is expected to begin scrutiny of these files from Monday. 19 out of the 34 companies in the Bengal Circle are from Kolkata. There are some interesting names from Kolkata from across trades.

The high-value declarants include a well-known bidi manufacturer, a popular  hawai chappal maker, some fruit and vegetable wholesalers from Burrabazar and a cloth merchant.

The I-T department is in the process of initiating recovery from these declarants. “ The department is working on the logistics of the recovery process,” an I-T source told Millennium Post.

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