Prime Minister Narendra Modi is moving fast to repatriate hundreds of billions of dollars in slush funds or black money stashed abroad, as part of a wider clampdown on corruption that he promised during his election campaign.
The government is building pressure particularly on Switzerland, seeking details of Indians who have parked unaccounted for money in the Alpine country's highly secretive banks. It has quickly implemented a Supreme Court directive to set up a high-powered special investigation team, headed by retired judge MB Shah, to look into the issue of black money that is said to run a parallel economy in India.
The efforts to rid India of corruption comes at a time when public patience with graft has run thin, underlined by massive street protests across the country three years ago that forced political parties to start addressing the scourge.
Hindustan Times presents a lowdown on how deals thrive outside the financial system in a bustling cash economy, hoodwinking authorities by creating a web of transactions to obscure the source of slush funds.
What is black money
Black money arises mainly from incomes not disclosed to the government usually to avoid taxation, and, sometimes, because of its criminal links
In god we trust, rest only cash
About two-thirds of India’s GDP run on cash—about Rs 62 lakh crore a year. For instance, grocery is bought and services are paid in cash.
Realty leads pervasive evasion
About a third of India’s black money transactions are believed to be in real estate, followed by manufacturing and shopping for gold and consumer goods.
HOW THE DIRT GETS WASHED
1. Under invoicing
Firm Y supplies goods worth Rs 1 lakh, but does not present the bill
Firm Y presents a bill of Rs 60,000 to firm X for the goods it supplied
X presents a cheque of Rs 40,000 –after deducting Rs 20,000 as tax—to Y
A month later X pays Rs 40,000 to Y in cash, which is not accounted
2. Investment in unlisted private companies
X “lends” Rs 10 crore in “cash” to Firm Y through a convertible debenture
Firm Y uses the “cash” lent by X to pay vendors in cash
Firm Y accepts payment from its final consumers only in cheque
X “converts” Rs 10 crore he had lent into equity shares of Y
3. Property deals
X sells a plot of land to Y at Rs 20 crore
Y pays 50% (Rs 10 crore ) in cash and the balance in cheque.
X deposits the cheque of Rs 10 crore and withdraws part in cash
X Places a request before bank to for a demand draft of a huge amount to purchase gold for business