The income tax department has stepped up its drive to launch criminal prosecution against alleged offenders by initiating 570 cases, which is three times higher than last year’s. This has also put pressure on other evaders, resulting in at least 1,200 applications from accused seeking mercy under compounding of offences rules with several of them approaching authority’s post-demonetisation.
A senior income tax (I-T) official said the department has filed as many as 570 prosecution cases in the last one year (till January 2017) against alleged offenders caught laundering money and evading taxes, compared to 196 cases fi led in different courts across the country in the previous financial year (2015-16).
Under I-T laws, a court conviction for tax offences can lead to imprisonment of up to seven years in addition to fine and interest and penalty on the tax evaded. The department has been taking up cases of money laundering seriously and has asked officials to file prosecution complaints against entities who refuse to own up their money despite enough evidences based on banking data obtained on deposits made after demonetisation.
The department is hopeful of filing more cases as the post-demonetisation data obtained from banks are still be ing analysed. In the Karnataka and Goa region, the tax department had recently issued over 850 prosecution notices to firms in the private and government domain on charges of delay in remitting TDS funds to the exchequer. In some high profile cases, the department has also launched prosecution against politicians. One such case is that of an MLA from Telengana where unaccounted income is to the tune of Rs 500 crore.
In a number of cases, the accused in black money cases have opted to surrender their unaccounted income under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna (PMGKY) available till March 31.