Karnataka: Bulk of cash seized was political stash, says I-T official

B R Balakrishnan

Bengaluru: The Karnataka-Goa income tax director-general B R Balakrishnan Monday said the role played by the I-T department in the run-up to the Karnataka assembly elections was significant.

Not only was there the cash seizure of Rs 36.95 crore, but the bulk of the cash seized was actual political cash linked to elections and meant to influence the electoral outcome, Balakrishnan told reporters here.

As many as 80 searches were conducted by the department, out of which 60 cases were detected by in-house intelligence, he said. The searches on various government contractors unravelled the entire modus operandi of generation of unaccounted cash by them for illegal funding of elections, he said.

In Mysuru, one such search led to cash seizure of over Rs 6 crore from benami lockers of contractors, Balakrishnan said. The success of the investigation directorate in acting as a credible deterrence against tax evasion is evident from the substantial jump in the direct tax collections as well, he said.

Last year, the region had crossed the psychological barrier of tax collection of Rs 1 lakh crore, and it now ranks third in all-India collection only after Mumbai and Delhi, Balakrishnan said. Till end of November 2018, the Karnataka-Goa income tax director general said his office had admitted and detected an undisclosed income of Rs 4,038 crore and Rs 6,134 crore, respectively.

In 2017-18 financial year, the office had uncovered a concealment of Rs 12,268 crore of which Rs 5,339 crore was admitted by taxpayers, he said. The newly set up benami prohibition units in Bengaluru and Panaji have made 84 provisional attachments, attaching properties worth Rs 563 crore, he said. Till date, 91 benamidars and 19 beneficial owners have been identified, he added.