Income Tax and Central Excise Intelligence sleuths are conducting raids at jewellery outlets across Tamil Nadu following information that there were heavy gold purchases after the demonetisation of high-value currencies.
"We have begun our raids at gold jewellery retail and wholesale outlets today. We are seeing if unaccounted demonetised currencies were used for gold purchases and hawala operations through the gold market," a top Income Tax official told PTI.
The raids were being conducted following a tip-off that heavy gold purchases were witnessed after the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, the official said.
Replying to a query, he said, "There are some evidences...the searches are on and these are at a preliminary stage," adding that so far, the IT sleuths have searched eight outlets.
Central Excise Intelligence sources said surprise raids were being conducted at all the major jewellery shops in the state since Thursday.
As many as 35 officers of the ranks of senior intelligence officer, assistant and deputy director are conducting the raids.
The stock and sale details of gold jewelleries, from November 7 onwards, are being verified.
In case of discrepancies in the stock and sale details, appropriate legal action will be considered against the jewellers, the sources said.
Also, it is being verified if gold, imported through illegal channels, was being used for manufacture and sale of jewellery vis-a-vis unaccounted demonetised currency.
A press release from the Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence, meanwhile, said, "The survey is basically aimed at verifying whether unaccounted currencies in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were used to invest in the gold market, subsequent to the declaration of demonetisation of these currencies."
So far, about 30 jewellery shops at Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore and Tiruchirappalli have been raided by the DGCEI teams.
"The exercise was taken up by the DGCEI as reports were received from reliable sources that some of the jewellers were accepting the demonetised notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations on commission basis," the release said.