Prominent people concealing taxable income as agri earning, says Jaitley
Many prominent people are being probed for allegedly concealing taxable income as agricultural earnings, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday, while asking the Opposition not to term it as political victimisation if their names come out.
After Opposition Janata Dal-United (JD-U), Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) raised the issue in the Rajya Sabha over reports of huge amount of black money being masqueraded as agriculture income to avoid paying taxes, Jaitley said if someone misuses the provisions of Income Tax Act, they are probed by the Income Tax Department. “Many prominent people” are said to be involved and are being probed, he said. “Please don’t say it is political victimisation if names come out after that (probe),” he said.
Jaitley, however, refused to share the details, despite the Opposition members seeking the names of such persons.
Charging Jaitley with misleading the House, Digvijaya Singh (Congress) asked the Finance Minister to reveal the names and “not threaten us”.
Agricultural income is exempted from income tax. Jaitley said there was no proposal before the government to levy income tax on farm income in view of the agricultural situation in the country.
Earlier raising the issue, Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said reports suggested that Rs 2,000 lakh crore of income has been concealed as agriculture earnings and sought an explanation from the government on the issue.
BSP chief Mayawati demanded a high-level probe into the generation of black money in the name of agriculture and demanded strict action to be taken against guilty. She also used the occasion to slip in a demand for Bharat Ratna for her party founder Kanshi Ram on his birth anniversary, which was observed on Tuesday.
Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) saw a conspiracy of taxing agriculture income in reports that huge black money was being hidden as agricultural income. He warned the government against taxing farm income.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien said Yadav’s notice under rule 267 seeking suspension of business to take up the issue, has not been accepted.