New Delhi, March 17, 2017

With central government continuing the attempt to curb the flow of black money in the country, the Income Tax department has now started countrywide raids on petrol pump owners and LPG distributors. The latest crackdown by the I-T department came in the wake of alleged conversion of demonetised notes of the denomination Rs 500 and Rs 1000 by way of deposits in excess of actual sales, during the implementation of the demonetisation policy.

Officials will be scrutinising the cash books of pump owners, under Section 133A of the I-T act, to ensure that sales corresponded with the deposits made in the pumps during the period when banned old notes were accepted for the purchase of fuels till December 3. Even excesses claimed by owners or distributors as outstanding debts received during the month-long period is being considered as illegal and according to the I-T act the defaulters will have to issue cheque of the amount to the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana along with tax and penalty of 49.90 per cent.

Earlier, officials from the department had confirmed that surveys were being conducted at the premises of petrol pumps and LPG distributors. As quoted by The Indian Express, the IT Commissioner said, “The surveys so far have shown that on an average, pump owners deposited in excess of 15 percent of the sales collections.”

According to one such survey, it was revealed that fuel sellers had deposited 20 per cent more than their actual sale till December 2. The uneven deposit of cash by owners indicates the illegal conversion of unaccounted cash at various pumps throughout the country.

While, citing the need to curb the flow of black money within the country, Prime minister Narendra Modi initiated the demonetisation policy on November 8, thereby putting a ban on currency notes of higher denomination, petrol pumps were permitted to accept demonetised notes till December 2.

[The Financial Express]