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New Delhi: The Income Tax department has detected large-scale under-invoicing of imports during searches conducted across the National Capital Region, Haryana and West Bengal, said an official statement.

The searches, which commenced last Sunday, led to the detection of unrecorded transactions, unaccounted investment in properties and bogus loans, the statement said.

The department said the importer used shell entities to bring in under- valued and wrongly described goods with an intent to evade customs duty.

The value of imports declared at the ports of entry by the use of such shell entities in the past three years is about 20 crore, but it is estimated that the actual value during this period could be more than 2,000 crore, given the scale of massive under-valuation detected, the department stated.

Upon clearance at ports, such goods have been found to be distributed throughout India by way of out-of-books cash transactions. While searching one of the containers of the importer at the Kolkata Port, where the goods were declared as ‘HDMI cables’ valued at 3.8 lakh, search revealed that the actual goods imported were high-value items like laptops and mobile phones valued at 64 crore, the department said.

Officials also found evidence of making payments for such under-invoiced goods to the foreign consigners through hawala channels. Almost the entire business has been found to be run this way, the statement said. The wealth, so generated, has been used for acquisition of high-value immovable properties, the statement said. Officials also detected unaccounted cash during the search.

What is helping the authorities detect tax evasion is the extensive data collection from various sources, use of technology and collaboration among various agencies.

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