Nagpur: Post demonetisation, jewellers reportedly made the kill, burning black cash to convert it into gold. There were inputs of massive deals then. Now the Sales and Income Department in the state has woken up to the murky trend and carried out surveys on over 45 jewellers’ firms across the state.
In Nagpur, 10 firms which include all the leading names, having showrooms in west Nagpur and Itwari have been covered in the action. Jewellers in smaller towns like, Akola, Chandrapur, Khamgaon Nashik, and Wardha have been covered in the surveys too. Among those under the scanner include firms of influential members of the jewellers fraternity.
Survey is an action similar to a search and seizure operation commonly known as a raid. In a raid, the tax authorities can seize cash and other assets, but in a survey only the books of accounts can be impounded.
Rampant transactions in the banned notes of Rs1000 and Rs500 to buy the yellow metal were reported after November 8. Jewellers had recorded the transactions in dates prior to demonetisation. There were various estimates on the quantum deals having undertaken in Nagpur, and other parts of the region, like Akola and Amravati. The number ran into hundreds of crores.
Gold demanded a premium for over two weeks following demonetisation. The markets remained closed as no officials rates were released by Bombay Bullion Association, though gold fetched as much as Rs55000 a tola (10 grams) through back door if the payment was made in old notes.
But certain glaring entries, in the books of accounts have caught the taxman’s eye. In every case there has been a sudden spurt in sales during November, as against the yearly average. In one of the cases a jeweller in a small town of Akola had recorded over 10 times of the yearly average turnover in November. The transactions were reported at dates prior to November 8 after which the notes were banned.
This was a clear indication that the deals were struck in banned notes after November 8. Further details like the stock with the jewellers to match the sales are being checked. A huge mismatch is expected to be found, say sources.
In many cases the super profits earned out of the premium charged on gold were not recorded in the books of accounts too. For As against the usual rates of Rs30,000 a tola (per 10 grams), gold was being sold at Rs55,000. Taxmen have also come across cases where gold has been sold to be delivered at a future date. Sales which actually went to a single person were also split into several names to avoid quoting of permanent account number (PAN), which is mandatory on every purchase of Rs50,000 and above.
The taxmen are also looking if the systems have been deliberately tweaked to recorded sales in back date, said sources.