New Delhi: A wide swathe of companies and individuals are in the line of the taxman's fire. With the Department of Income Tax and other agencies trying to flush out black stash both domestically and what is parked in international tax havens, scrutiny levels have gone up manifold.
Tax evasion, unfortunately has become a way of life in India and the govt has prioritised unearthing the parallel economy at the earliest. A combination of human ingenuity and technological capability is driving the big push to catch such offenders. With tax dodgers using contemporary software and other jagged edges of tech to beat the taxman, the DIT is upgrading its forensic and technological teeth to crackdown on black money generation and usage.
In fact, the illegal cash game has turned into a high stakes, high value modus operandi of meta data and exabytes. Digital and electronic evidence are the latest buzzwords in DIT. As is the deterrent — digital forensics.
Faced with neo camouflages, the DIT is now tracking E-mail word processing documents, data base tables, files saved from accounting programmes, digital photographs, ATM transaction logs, instant message histories, internet browser histories, the contents of computer memory, computer back-up, global positioning system tracks, digital video or sound files, data stored in mobile telephones and the data stored in all types memory storage devices.
A case in point is a case investigated by the Investigation Wing in Mumbai, the assessee was a builder. The department had information that the assessee had been accepting on-money.
During the course of search, the electronic records of the assessee were carefully observed and it was found that the assessee had two email accounts which were not previously disclosed to the department.
On further analysis, it was found that these two email accounts contained the parallel books of accounts maintained in Tally and Excel sheet. These parallel books of accounts contained the unaccounted cash receipts and expenses of the assessee.
The modus operandi of the assessee is that he maintains the accounts in Tally and also in Excel sheet and then e-mails it to the second account. When confronted with these findings, the assessee accepted the same. The estimated concealment in the group was Rs 300 crore.
HIGH END JEWELLER
In this case investigated by the Investigation Wing in Mumbai, the assessee manufactures and sells high end jewellery. They also import high end watches.
Both the watches and the jewellery are sold in exclusive showrooms in high end malls.
During the course of search, a secret premise was found and on searching that premise, it was found that parallel books of accounts are being maintained by the assessee in a separate hard drive.
The department took the backup of the hard drive and on analysis, it was found that there is a folder containing the unaccounted cash receipts and expenses.
When confronted, the assessee made a disclosure of Rs 28 crore on this issue (a further disclosure of Rs 34 crores was made on other issues).