Op­er­a­tion Clean Money to Per­form a Sur­gi­cal Strike on 18 Lakh Ac­counts

In­di­vid­u­als will be asked to di­vulge source of large cash trans­ac­tions post de­mon­eti­sa­tion

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The gov­ern­ment said it has iden­ti­fied 18 lakh in­di­vid­u­als who will be re­quired to di­vulge the source of large cash trans­ac­tions that they un­der­took in the weeks af­ter de­mon­eti­sa­tion as part of the in­come-tax de­part­ment’s Op­er­a­tion Clean Money/ Swachh Dhan Ab­hiyan ini­tia­tive.

An in­te­gral part of the gov­ern­ment’s cam­paign against black money, the ac­count hold­ers have been tar­geted through the use of data an­a­lyt­ics to sift through in­for­ma­tion for the pe­riod be­tween Novem­ber 9, when the old ₹ 500 and ₹ 1,000 notes ceased to be le­gal ten­der, and De­cem­ber 30, when the win­dow for their de­posit in banks ended.

These 18 lakh per­sons have been iden­ti­fied by the tax de­part­ment as their trans­ac­tions did not match their tax pro­file. Cases are be­ing se­lected for ver­i­fi­ca­tion on the ba­sis of ap­proved risk cri­te­ria, of­fi­cials said. The tax de­part­ment has en­abled on­line ver­i­fi­ca­tion of these trans­ac­tions to en­sure that peo­ple do not face any ha­rass­ment at the hands of tax of­fi­cials. Every per­ma­nent ac­count holder will be able to view in­for­ma­tion about his or her trans­ac­tion us­ing the in­come tax e-fil­ing por­tal. ET had re­ported on Jan­uary 2 about the in­come-tax de­part­ment's plan to put in­for­ma­tion on­line. “Op­er­a­tion Clean Money/Swachh Dhan Ab­hiyan is a pro­gram­ming soft­ware which will be used to get an­swers on all the de­posits made and only af­ter pre­lim­i­nary an­swers from the peo­ple, if need be, we would take le­gal ac­tion against those peo­ple,” rev­enue sec­re­tary Has­mukh Ad­hia said on Tues­day.

Sep­a­rately, they will be also in­formed through mes­sages and emails by the in­come-tax de­part­ment and will have to file their ex­pla­na­tion on­line at the https://in­cometaxin­di­ae­fil­ing.gov.in por­tal within 10 days to avoid tax no­tices and en­force­ment ac­tion.

“Peo­ple must come clean and pay the tax In the Crosshairs

due,” said CBDT chair­man Sushil Chan­dra. In the ini­tial phase, the de­part­ment will put up data of per­sons who have de­posited ₹ 5 lakh or more, sus­pi­cious trans­ac­tions be­low ₹ 5 lakh, and up to ₹ 3 lakh and with poor tax com­pli­ance. These have been se­lected where de­posits don’t match tax pro­files with the de­part­ment. Dur­ing the seven-week de­posit win­dow, more than ₹ 2 lakh was de­posited as cash in more than 1 crore ac­counts that have more than 70 lakh PANs at­tached to them, Chan­dra said. “If we are sat­is­fied with the in­for­ma­tion, there will be no fol­low-up. Data an­a­lyt­ics will be used to un­der­take the en­tire ex­er­cise,” he added.

In­for­ma­tion on cash de­posits will be dis­played at the e-fil­ing por­tal men­tioned above in the com­pli­ance sec­tion. Tax­pay­ers can men­tion how much of the cash is from pre­vi­ous sav­ings, whether the money is from an­other per­son or with­drawn from an­other bank ac­count, the gov­ern­ment said. “There’s a ref­er­ence guide and helpdesk num­ber given as well,” it said.

If a case is se­lected for ver­i­fi­ca­tion, re­quests for ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion and other re­sponses will be com­mu­ni­cated elec­tron­i­cally. The ver­i­fi­ca­tion will be closed if the cash de­posit is de­clared un­der Prad­han Mantri Garib Kalyan Yo­jana (PMGKY), the dis­clo­sure scheme for black money.

All ac­counts that have a bal­ance of ₹ 5 lakh or in which `2 lakh was de­posited dur­ing the de­mon­eti­sa­tion pe­riod will need to be com­pli­ant with know-your-cus­tomer (KYC) norms. With­out this, the Re­serve Bank of In­dia won’t al­low money to be with­drawn from them.

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