With the December 30 deadline for depositing old currency notes approaching fast, the government is looking to put in place a mechanism for fast resolution of all disputes arising from suspicious transactions.
According to sources, “suspicious” or ‘black’ money, which has come into the system since November 10 could well be over R1 lakh crore. Thousands of bank accounts are under the scanner, and most banks have appointed consultancy firms to help them in forensic examination.
After December 30, investing authorities, including the income tax department, will aggressively start probing all account holders, who have deposited large amounts of cash without any clear source of income, said the sources quoted above.
A senior official at a public sector bank, who did not wish to be identified, told HT that lenders have been asked to be prompt in filing suspicious transaction reports (STRs), which will help in identifying specific account holders.
Axis Bank, as a precautionary step, has already decided to freeze a few suspicious accounts. “There is no doubt that a chunk of the money that has come in as deposits after the demonetisation drive was kicked off is suspicious and unaccounted, where depositors are not even looking to take advantage of the income disclosure scheme by paying 50% tax,” according to an industry analyst.
“We have been studying the STRs and gathering all possible information on bank accounts and deposits that look suspicious... there are discrepancies and we will start our probe. Those depositors will have to clearly outline the source of the money,” an official source added.
Earlier, investigations undertaken by the tax department had revealed various discrepancies even in the zero-balance Jan Dhan accounts. The finance ministry has said that an undisclosed amount of R1.64 crore was deposited by individuals, who had never filed income tax returns, since they were outside the taxable limits. A large number of such depositors were from Kolkata, Midnapore, Ara in Bihar, Kochi and Varanasi.