The department found that the operators were largely "dealing in cash" and the sleuths have seized their mobile phones on which they used to deal with their clients, through SMSes and WhatsApp chats.
The Income Tax Department (ITD) has unearthed an over Rs 100 crore of black money and undisclosed income after it raided some major catering and pandal (tent) operators in the national capital region over the weekend. Officials said a total of 43 premises of three major tent and catering operators were raided (searched and surveyed) since May 3 by the sleuths of the Delhi investigation wing of the ITD and till now a cash amount of Rs 1.82 crore and jewellery worth Rs 2.4 crore has been seized from them. The catering, tent and pandal operators, who are in the business of organising big and fat weddings and other family celebrations in the NCR, have not been identified.
The department found that the operators were largely “dealing in cash” and the sleuths have seized their mobile phones on which they used to deal with their clients, through SMSes and WhatsApp chats. “All these messages on mobile phones and documents showing undisclosed cash receipts have been seized and are being scrutinised. “These businessmen were evading tax for many years by under-reporting their sales and service charges,” a senior official told PTI.
Officials said about 15 bank lockers of these operators have also been frozen and the amount of black money or undisclosed income detected in this case could go well over the prima facie estimate of Rs 100 crore. “Some of these entities have also claimed bogus expenses in the form of purchases from shell companies,” the official said. The extent of evasion, in some cases, is about 100 per cent of the income earned, he said.
The department is also scanning the list of those high-profile clients who were dealing with these caterers and pandal services by paying in cash, the official said.