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Are demonetised notes striking gold?

FILE - In this undated handout file photo from Newmont Mining Corporation, gold nuggets and bars are shown. In December 2007, gold for about $840 an ounce. A little over a year later, it rose above $1,000 for the first time. It climbed gradually for the next two years. Then in March 2011, it began rocketing up. On Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011, it traded at $1,788 an ounce, up 26 percent this year. (AP Photo/Newmont Mining, File )   | Photo Credit: UNKNOWN

Financial investigation agencies have gathered prima facie evidence suggesting that a number of jewellers and foreign exchange operators in the country indulged in illicit conversion of demonetised Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes.

The Customs Intelligence has zeroed in over 400 big jewellers in 25 cities on reports that soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation, they showed a sharp jump in sales. In the black market, the gold price had gone up to Rs. 50,000 for 10 grams.

In one case, a jeweller sold 201 kg of gold in just three days, leaving a minuscule balance in its coffers. His accounts are being scrutinised.

“We will share the findings with our sister agencies for necessary action. The Income Tax Department is keeping track of the transactions in question and has served notice,” said a senior Customs official. An estimated 2.5 million jewellers and half-a-million goldsmiths operate across the country.

The agencies suspect that several jewellery houses would show receipts in part payments below Rs.2 lakh per buyer to ensure that they do not have to produce their PAN to the authorities.

The jewellers usually deposit cash in banks every week after producing the transaction records.

If the investigators come across transactions revealing a trend on deliberate splitting of sales, an explanation will be sought from such jewellers.

Following an Enforcement Directorate crackdown on over 70 unscrupulous foreign exchange operators, an official said, such practices have stopped in Delhi. “Irregularities have been found in the transactions of several forex operators in some cities, which are being investigated further,” said the official.

Realty sales

The Income Tax Department is also conducting discreet inquiries on several real estate operators in different States, including Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.

It is suspected that attempts are being made to push the unaccounted-for cash into the system by entering into land deals at highly inflated rates.

Reports of some mid-rung companies trying to adjust cash in their account books have also been received.

Besides, the department is gearing up to investigate the dormant accounts in which huge sums have reportedly been deposited after the demonetisation announcement. Bank authorities have been told to collate and share the record of such transactions with the Finance Ministry.


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Printable version | Oct 18, 2021 11:50:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Are-demonetised-notes-striking-gold/article16448460.ece

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