Mumbai, August 20, 2017

Govt fills up vacanct posts, promotes 65 officials with proven investigative skills

More than 65 officer of the Income-Tax Department have been promoted to the position of Principal Commissioners, as the government ups the ante in its fight against shell companies.

Positions with investigative powers that have been lying vacant have been filled up and strengthened, a senior I-T officer said.

He said officials with proven skills were being promoted. This would help strengthen the probe against shell companies, he said. The process of investigation has been under way since September 2016.

After demonetisation, the government had launched a massive crackdown on shell companies, and the I-T Department has been at the forefront of the drive.

Of a recent list of 331 shell companies declared by the government, many were found to have shared their registered address from common areas in Kolkata. It is reported that many companies have listed their addresses in decrepit colonial-era buildings in Lalbazaar Street, Kolkata.

When high-denomination currency notes were banned last year, authorities noticed that many companies deposited cash in banks in multiple tranches, creating a complex web of transactions. On probing further, it was found that several companies had no regular businesses; they existed only on paper. The official said that a fresh list of companies may be put out in public by the government in the coming months.

The common modus operandi of the owners of such companies is to create smoke screens by naming personal servants and drivers as members of the company board.

Another I-T official said that there have been investigations in the past against companies dodging taxes, based on information from VAT Department. Currently, information from multiple sources, including Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs is being collated, he said.

Filling up vacant positions will ensure speedy investigation into such companies and transactions. The PMO has asked for forming a special team in the I-T Department to rout out bogus companies, the official said.

[The Hindu Business Line]