By Sanjay Jog
The Income-Tax Department, Mumbai region, has estimated arrears worth Rs 2.12 lakh crore from four groups-Hasan Ali Group, Harshad Mehta Group, Ketan Parekh Group and Manoj Punamiya Group.
The Mumbai region department, which contributes almost a third to the country's direct tax kitty, said in an internal presentation its appeal to recover Rs 1.65 lakh crore tax dues from Hasan Ali Group was pending with the I-T Appellate Tribunal. The cases pertaining to Harshad Mehta Group (Rs 39,740 crore) and Ketan Parekh Group (Rs 4,477 crore) are pending before a special court. In the case of Manoj Punamiya Group, most of its dues worth Rs 2,569 crore are not enforceable.
The tax arrears by these four groups constitute 69 per cent of the total arrears of Rs 3.09 lakh crore (as on December 31, 2012).
"The department is utilising technological tools like individual transaction statement, the I-T Department management system and procurement of information from the Credit Information Bureau of India to recover arrears. This is in addition to the department's efforts to pursue legal and administrative cases at various levels," an I-T official told Business Standard.
Meanwhile, the department observed the main challenge came from large-scale cash transactions in the economy, which hardly leaves any trail for investigation. "In many cases, accounted transactions at one stage become unaccounted at subsequent stages such as in commodities like steel (scrap), cement, textiles (yarn, grey cloth) and diamonds. The cash component of investments in bullion and properties (more in lands) absorbs a large amount of black or undisclosed income. The economic and commercial activity needs to be regulated so that transactions are through banking channels and have an audit trail, reducing the need for cash to the extent possible," the department said.