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Tax raids on fish industries uncover Rs 195-cr illegal wealth

DH News Service, Bengaluru, Feb 13 2018, 0:20 IST
Fish processing unit which is search by the IT department at Mangaluru and Udupi. DH Photo.

Fish processing unit which is search by the IT department at Mangaluru and Udupi. DH Photo.

The Income Tax Department says it has unearthed about Rs 195 crore worth of illegal wealth in three major groups of fish-processing industries located in Mangaluru and Udupi.

A team of nearly 150 officials from Mangaluru, Udupi, Bengaluru, Mysuru, Hubballi, Belagavi and Panaji was hard at work searching 20 premises and surveying another 23 in five states. The searches, which began on February 8, also targeted agents employed to procure raw fish. Some end users of the processed food were also verified.

"During the searches, it was found that the processing units showed huge bogus creditors in the names of fishermen. It was also found that huge cash was paid to the agents in the name of fishermen, violating the provisions of the Income Tax Act. Various benami entities were floated in the name of relatives and employees to make unaccounted (for) investments, in violation of the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act," the department said in a statement.

Besides revealing almost Rs 195 crore worth of illegal wealth, the searches also yielded Rs 88 lakh in unaccounted-for cash.

"The total amount of unaccounted (for) money is likely to go up further as the department plans to investigate all related parties and concerns, the bank transactions in India and abroad, and investments made abroad.

"The same or similar modus is believed to be followed by many entities and individuals connected with the fishing industry. All such persons may like to come forward and pay due taxes on their own," the statement added.

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