The jeweller community, which has traditionally been considered close to the BJP, was one of the worst communities hit by the Central agencies for indulging in massive tax evasion and trying to help convert black money into white following demonetisation.
Central government agency officials, who were involved in the process of making demonetisation a success, were not asked to go slow on the jewellers by the top political leadership after reports emerged that the powerful jeweller community, wooed by every political party because of its ability to fund elections, were indulging in actions that were scuttling the objective of demonetisation, started on 8 November.
As per the government data, between 8 November 2016 and 10 January 2017, the government agencies launched a massive crackdown on the jewellers who were facilitating conversion of black money into gold and started selling jewellery without issuing proper documents and receipts.
“In this two months period, around 1,150 searchers and surveys were carried out against the jewellers all across the country which means that every day, close to 200 operations were carried out. This created a sense of fear of law in the minds of the jewellers. We issued at least 5,000 notices to them and were able to detect undisclosed income worth Rs 5,000 crore. This is just the data for the initial two months; we are collating the numbers for the subsequent months,” an official source familiar with the development said.
The officials, in these two months, also recovered close to Rs 520 crore in cash, out of which Rs 100 crore was in the form of new currencies.
“The Enforcement Directorate and the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) took action and the ED has registered 13 cases against the jewellers for money laundering post demonetisation while the CBDT has booked 81 such jewellers for evading tax. Certain bank officials, who facilitated the transactions between the jewellers and the customers, have been identified and booked. In some cases, discreet inquiry is still going on and we will be taking formal action against them in the coming months. For us, the work is still going on. We have been very strictly asked to identify and take action against the people who tried to bypass demonetisation,” the official said.