Strongly refuting the claims that Income Tax Department was harassing citizens and resorting to indiscriminate raids, the Finance Ministry on Friday said the number of search and seizure cases had come down during the April-October period.

"Under the Income Tax Act, search and seizure is conducted on the basis of specific and credible information regarding tax evasion and after conducting necessary verification. The number of search warrants executed has declined compared to the last year. During April-October, 2,190 search warrants were executed as against 2,548 during the corresponding last year,’’ it said.

Stating that the IT Department had also met with great success in its crusade against black money, the Finance Ministry said income amounting to Rs. 18,750 crore was detected and admitted by the persons in searches in the last two years and in the current fiscal it stood at Rs. 3,887 crore. It said the number of surveys at business premises, which do not involve entering residences, has also reduced.

The Finance Ministry said surveys conducted were 5,777 in 2008-09, 4,680 in 2009-10 and 3,911 in 2010-11 and the income detected and admitted by persons surveyed was Rs. 3,060 crore, Rs. 4,857 crore, Rs. 5,894 crore, respectively.

The statement said, referring to the current financial year, only 1,271 surveys have been conducted up to September 2011. Out of 3.5 crore taxpayers, searches and surveys in about 7,000 cases which is one in 5,000 tax payers. ``Therefore, the impressions sought to be created, that raids are being conducted by the tax department indiscriminately and have been increasing in the recent months, have not factual basis whatsoever,’’ the statement added.

It said large amounts of undeclared incomes admitted by the persons searched or surveyed justify the action taken by the department. Pointing out that payment of taxes is both legal and civic responsibility, the Finance Ministry said it is the endeavour of the Income Tax Department to collect taxes in an unobtrusive manner. ``In some cases intrusive action becomes unavoidable. It is natural that persons being investigated will feel uncomfortable, even harassed,’’ it said.

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