Income Tax dept. detects Benami business for running petrol outlets in Meghalaya
Dimapur, Aug. 10 (EMN): The Investigation Wing of Income Tax department, North Eastern Region (NER) on August 2 carried out searches on businessmen in Meghalaya who were found to be involved in running a web of petrol pumps managed and controlled as Benami properties.
“These persons were depriving the state government of legitimate revenue by suppressing sales and non-deposit of local taxes collected, while also indulging in massive evasion of income tax by misusing exemption under Section 10(26) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 meant for tribal persons,” an official press release said.
During the search, the department officials seized more than INR 2 crore of unaccounted cash along with incriminating documents, the release said.
“This search by the department was a much needed action on a long existing racket run by some unscrupulous elements exploiting local citizens of Meghalaya and avoiding paying income tax using tribal persons who are exempted from income tax, as a front,” the statement read.
The pre-search investigation involved extensive surveillance and covert enquiries which were continuing for over a year, the release added.
Following the searches exposing these benami petrol pumps, executive committee member of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) in-charge of trade, announced to the media on August 8 that urgent steps will be taken to prevent Benami transactions in the state.
Despite the law, Benami transactions are thriving due to collusion between some local people and their non-tribal business partners, the KHADC said.
The KHADC is a statutory autonomous body which regulates various aspects of trade and commerce in Meghalaya.