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24 Dec 2016

I-T claims Rs 31cr black money haul

Dev Raj and Khwaja Jamal, TT, Patna/Muzaffarpur, Dec. 23: Income tax sleuths have detected two cases of money laundering in Muzaffarpur and Gaya, worth at least Rs 31 crore, post demonetisation.
S.T. Ahmad, principal chief commissioner of income tax for Bihar and Jharkhand, said two businessmen in Muzaffarpur had opened four bank accounts - three in ICICI Bank and one in Kotak Mahindra Bank - in the name of Kunal, one of their employees, and deposited huge amounts of scrapped currency notes in them.
Money laundering of at least Rs 13 crore has been discovered in the accounts, sources said, adding that it could go up to Rs 20 crore.
Income tax (I-T) sleuths raided Puja Trading Company, Puja Jewellery and Kanta Sales Corporation, belonging to jewellers Ashok Kumar Goenka and Raj Kumar Goenka, in Purani Gudri area under Mithanpura police station of Muzaffarpur, around 73km north of Patna, last night.
A.K. Sinha, I-T commissioner (appeal), said the money in the four accounts had further been transferred to accounts outside Bihar.
Joint income tax commissioner Shadab Alam said in Muzaffarpur: "It is a case of money laundering and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has been requested to take note of it for investigation."
I-T sleuths are interrogating Kunal, who has lodged an FIR accusing his employers of opening bank accounts in his name without his knowledge.
In raids in Gaya since December 13, I-T sleuths have discovered Rs 11 crore unaccounted money in five Jan Dhan accounts, whose owners were clueless about it. Motilal, a cotton mill owner, is a key suspect. Sinha said the Gaya case "has been referred to the CBI and the ED because of the suspicion of involvement of money belonging to Maoists in Bihar and Jharkhand".
I-T sleuths are keeping a close watch on over 600 Jan Dhan accounts in which sudden transactions between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 3 lakh have been discovered after the cash ban.
"The figures are expected to go up further as investigations in both big cases - one in Muzaffarpur and another in Gaya - progress. As far as Jan Dhan accounts are concerned, we are keeping all of them in the state under our scanner," Ahmad said.
Bihar had 2.66 crore such accounts on December 14, with deposits worth Rs 6,084 crore.
I-T sleuths have seized around Rs 9.18 crore and detected undisclosed income of Rs 42.4 crore in Bihar and Jharkhand so far.
"Our teams are going out in the field daily," Ahmad said. "We also have an email address blackmoneyinfo@incometax.gov.in at which people can provide tip-offs."

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