The Income Tax (IT) Department has found that Know-Your-Customer (KYC) of lockers in the Rs 25-crore hawala racket in Chandni Chowk was not done.
Revealing that "IT department has found that KYC of lockers was not done," Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chairman Sushil Chandra on Tuesday elaborated, "We called the locker owners, and those who were unable to explain about the cash, we seized the cash. Total Rs 25 crore has been seized."
As many as 30 Benami lockers were detected by the department during an ongoing raid in a private vault at Delhi's Chandni Chowk area. This is the first case of Benami Lockers being unearthed by the Delhi investigation wing of the IT department after The Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Amendment Act was passed by Parliament in August 2016.
The law seeks to prohibit Benami transactions irrespective of the method by which such property, both movable and immovable, is acquired.
"Around Rs 10 crore has been recovered from these 30 Benami Lockers alone. These numbers may go up as the raid is still on and may take 10 more days to conclude," IT sources told ANI on Monday.
According to sources, 120 lockers have been opened out of 300 till Saturday, which collectively had Rs 25 crore in them. Officials said these Benami lockers were opened in the name of former employees, current employees and some relatives of the locker owners.
During the investigation, some of the locker owners accepted that they earlier used to work in the firms, but were unaware that the locker was opened and operated in their names.
They said that when they used to work with these firms, they submitted their identification documents, which were possibly used to open and operate the lockers.
The IT department has seized a laptop and register which was used for entries. "Whoever used to come to deposit or collect cash from the locker was supposed to do entries in the register," IT sources said. On the basis of details mentioned in the laptop and register, the IT sleuths summoned these persons. However, some of them did not turn up to claim the locker and thus, after two weeks, the sleuths broke the locker after completing official formalities.
IT officials said that some of the firms that are involved in hawala transaction had opened two or three lockers in the name of their employees.