Jewellers in the local Sarafan Bazar and Kashmiri Bazar closed down their establishments in a jiffy as rumours of raids by the income tax department spread in the city on Friday.
Both main markets remained closed for nearly two hours. As the information spread, even small goldsmiths pulled down their shutters leaving the shoppers bewildered. “It is the biggest crack down ever in the city,” claimed a rumour monger. “The bazaar where the flying squad has parked their vehicles is also closed,” he said. But enquiries revealed that shopkeepers had pulled down shutters just in panic.
“We had received a call from a fellow jeweller informing that there was a raid by the IT department, so we closed the shop and went away,” said a jeweller. He said the gold traders had become apprehensive after the raids in Chandigarh, Ludhiana and other places on Thursday in the wake of reports of alleged unethical profiteering by certain jewellers across the country.
Meanwhile, the situation in the banks and post offices did not improve despite ATMs at various places becoming functional. People had to stand in long queues to deposit or exchange money. Post offices received meagre amount in small denomination which fell short of demand while the co operative banks did not get the new currency at all. Customers could not deposit their PPF (public provident fund) as the staff remained busy with other transactions.