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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

IT Department Keeping Watch on Sources of Real Estate Funding

Suspecting the use of black money to finance deals in the country’s booming real estate sector, the Income Tax Department is keeping close tabs on the sources of funding for developers’ lucrative projects. “The focus of the Income Tax Department is real estate developers as the department has received many complaints of the involvement of black money in these deals. There is a large amount of money involved in the sale and purchase of land and huge income is generated,” a Finance Ministry source told PTI.

Recently, a well-known Mumbai developer admitted to undisclosed income of Rs 200 crore. In addition, Rs 100 crore was recovered from a Surat-based real estate company in a separate case.
Besides real estate, other sectors which are under the scanner of the Income Tax Department include mining, civil construction, education, jewellery and manufacturing, the source added. In 2009-10 and 2010-11, the I-T Department unearthed unaccounted income of over Rs 15,000 crore in its search and seizure operations.

In addition, around Rs 8,000  crore was detected by the Income Tax Department during surveillance of firms and individuals that suppressed their income during these two financial years. “In January, Rs 73.8 crore cash was seized by the department in the survey operation, the highest-ever cash seizure in any month,” it added. The Income Tax Department is also keeping a close eye on ponzi financial schemes, where the money from new investors is used to pay existing investors.

“This is a new area which the Income Tax Department is tracking closely. Many such schemes are under the scanner of the department,” the source said. Recently, the I-T Department recovered Rs 300 crore of unaccounted money raised through such schemes from Delhi and West Bengal-based commodity traders.

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