Tuesday, March 28, 2017

I-T stonewalls RTI petition on IDS and Jan Dhan cash

Times of India‎‎‎‎: Ahmedabad: Tuesday, March 28, 2017.
In a surprising claim, the income tax office in Ahmedabad has revealed that it does not maintain any statistics regarding the people who have declared money or assets under income declaration scheme (IDS).
In reply to a RTI petition, the I-T has also claimed it does not maintain any information regarding steps taken against those who have declared assets under IDS.
Not only this, the I-T has also told the RTI petitioner that it doesn't maintain any information regarding how many raids were made on MLAs, MPs, or IAS and IPS officers or industries to unearth black money or undisclosed income. And, to top it all, it has said that it doesn't maintain any information on inquiry into the rush of cash into Jan Dhan accounts and their misuse.
Incidentally, the I-T, in its first move, had misplaced and forgotten the RTI application filed by city-based activist, Bharatsinh Jhala, though they tendered apology for the apparently inadvertent mistake.
"It is to mention here that the RTI application of the applicant was received in this office on December 22, 2016 but was misplaced and therefore it remained to reply, for which the undersigned apologises," said the reply by H M Bhatt, deputy commissioner of income tax (headquarters) (co-ordination) and chief public information officer (CPIO).
Jhala had filed the application post demonetization, and after the news of the huge Rs 13,860 crore declaration made by one Mahesh Shah hit news headlines. I-T officials including principal chief commissioner of income tax, Gujarat, B D Gupta had claimed in December last year that they would initiate legal actions against Shah but nothing had happened after that.
On March 3, the CPIO wrote to Jhala that no information regarding Jhala's queries was maintained by the office and hence the information he had asked for could not be provided.
The Union finance ministry had announced IDS- 2016 by issuing a circular dated May 20, 2016 under which an opportunity was provided to persons who have not paid full taxes in the past to fully disclose income and pay tax, surcharge and penalty totalling in all to 45% of the undisclosed income.