50 high net worth individuals in tax net for buying Nirav Modi diamonds
New Delhi: The Income Tax Department has decided to re-assess the tax returns of over 50 high net-worth individuals (HNIs) who purchased costly jewellery from firms owned by absconding diamantaire Nirav Modi, official sources said.
They said the taxman decided to initiate the step after a number of people, it sent notices asking them to explain the source of income for purchase of the jewellery, denied any cash payment made by them to Nirav Modi's firms. Officials said the department has gathered documents that indicate that these select buyers of high-end jewellery had split the total payment for diamond jewellery, by paying a part through cheque or card (debit/credit) and the rest in cash. In reply to the tax notices, most of the people said that they did not make any cash payment, but this version does not corroborate with the data obtained by the I-T Department vis-a-vis the sales made by the firms of Nirav Modi.
It has been found from the company books that payments were received after splitting them into cash and cheque/card transactions, officials said, hence it is essential to re-assess the income tax returns (ITRs) of these over 50 people beginning from the 2014-15 assessment year. They said if discrepancies of concealed cash payments are found, which in some cases may be in several lakhs, the HNIs will be charged for tax evasion and subsequent action will be initiated. Some more cases of this nature are under preliminary probe, the officials said. The department had recently conducted searches on the premises of a Rewari-based hospital group, related to the family of Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav, after it was found that the owners of the firm allegedly made a part-cash and cheque payment against the purchase of jewellery from a Nirav Modi firm.
The tax department has already filed a charge sheet against Nirav Modi and others before a Mumbai court for alleged tax evasion. Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi are also being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI after it was detected that they allegedly cheated Punjab National Bank of more than Rs 13,400 crore with the purported involvement of a few of its employees The scam, which reportedly began in 2011, was detected in January this year, after which PNB officials reported it to the probe agencies. Two criminal complaints were filed by the ED in these instances after taking cognisance of CBI FIRs.