Income Tax Department Busts Rs 3,300-Crore Hawala Racket Involving Infrastructure Firms
Indian two thousand and five hundred rupee banknotes are arranged for a photograph in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)  

Income Tax Department Busts Rs 3,300-Crore Hawala Racket Involving Infrastructure Firms

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The Central Board of Direct Taxes on Monday claimed that the Income Tax Department has busted a hawala racket worth Rs 3,300 crore and spread across multiple cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad with links to "leading corporate houses" in the infrastructure sector.

The raids to unearth the large tax evasion nexus were conducted in the first week of this month on 42 premises in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Erode, Pune, Agra and Goa on a group of people indulging in issuing bogus bills and carrying on hawala transactions.

"The search action was successful in unearthing incriminating evidences and establishing the nexus between big corporates, hawala operators and identification of entire chain of delivery, as well as siphoning of funds by way of bogus contracts to the tune of Rs 3,300 crore," the CBDT said in a statement.

The raids resulted in busting of a "major racket of cash generation" by leading corporate houses in the infrastructure sector through bogus contracts and bills, it said.

Hawala denotes illegal transaction of funds by skirting the legal banking channels.

"Funds meant for public infrastructure projects were siphoned off through entry operators, lobbyists and hawala dealers," it said.

The Board, the policy-making body for the Income Tax department, however, did not identify the entities raided.

The companies involved in siphoning of funds are mostly located in the national capital region and Mumbai, it said.

One such company was earlier searched by Income Tax sleuths in April this year, the statement said.

"The projects involved in bogus billing are major infrastructure and EWS (economically weaker section) projects located in south India."

"Evidence of cash payment of more than Rs 150 crore to a prominent person in Andhra Pradesh has also been unearthed during the search," the CBDT said.

"Unexplained cash of Rs 4.19 crore and jewellery (worth) in excess of Rs 3.2 crore was also seized during the search operation," it said.

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