Jewellers and other traders in Gurgaon’s Sadar Bazar downed shutters on Friday afternoon after rumours that the income tax department could conduct raids. Business was also affected in markets in New Gurgaon at Sikanderpur, Qutab Plaza in DLF City Phase 1, Sohna Road and other markets as traders preferred to play safe.
For the past few days, there have been unconfirmed reports that a large amount of black money is being converted into gold bullions with the help of jewellers, which led to raids in various cities on Friday.
As soon as rumours of possible raids in Gurgaon reached Sadar Bazar around 1.30 pm, most jewellers and other establishments closed their shops for the day.
Even small shopkeepers in the lanes and bylanes of the market downed shutters. Eyewitnesses said 70% to 80% shops closed from Khandsa Road to Bus Stand near Sadar Bazar within half an hour itself. Chemists too closed at some places.
The jewellers, however, claimed they had closed shops not because of fear of raids, but to escape pressure from old customers to accept denotified currency. “There are no fresh notes in the market and a majority of the customers are asking us to take old notes and adjust the same. We can’t do this as it is against the rules,” said Amit Jindal, owner of Jindal Jewellers in Sadar Bazar.
The jewellers also claimed that 99% of their community is not engaged in converting black money into bullion. However, a trader admitted that there were some who were doing this either because they had taken huge loans from the bank or had to pay large amounts to private parties. “We are totally against this and have decided to remain shut till Monday,” said Jindal.
Bablu Gupta, president, Sadar Bazar Vyapar Mandal, said they had decided to remains shut for the day as there were no customers and shopping was almost negligible. “There are no new notes and shopkeepers don’t want to argue with customers who want us to accept old notes,” said Gupta. He added that he fully supported the government’s decision to denotify Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes and said it will remove a large amount of black money from the system.
A shopper in Sadar Bazar who had gone to buy clothes for a family wedding said he was startled by the sudden move and left wondering what to do. “There is a wedding two days later. I think we will have to make do with old clothes,” said Parvesh Thakur.
Rumours of raids in Gurgaon spread after the I-T department conducted raids in Delhi and Mumbai on Friday on major traders and jewellers who were allegedly converting black money into bullion and other assets.