I-T sleuths raid Joyalukkas stores

As part of increasing the scrutiny on jeweller community across the country, income tax (I-T) raids were held in over 125 locations of south-based jewellery cha­ins, including Joyalukkas, on Wednesday. Income tax officials conducted raids at all the stores, offices and residential premises of Joyalukkas in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, An­d­­hra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, West Bengal, New Delhi, West Bengal and Maharashtra. Residential pre­mises of some of the key employees were included in the raids. Stores and other pr­emises of another jewellery chain, Manjali Jewellers, were also raided. According to officials, Manjali Jewellers has some financial transactions with Joyalukkas.

The raids were initiated by the Kerala income tax department and conducted with the help of officials of different states, I-T department officials in Chennai said.  The raid was conducted to ascertain whether the companies had evaded taxes in the past years.  “We had received information about suppression of sales numbers, some suspicious financial transactions, unaccounted cash deposits, including demonetised notes. We have received good evidence and will be collating data from across the country before disclosing them,” said the Kerala official in-charge of the raids.

Around 500 officials across the country were part of the raids and the Kerala department has been coordinating with officials in other states for some time on this. The coordinated raids across different states started from Wednesday morning and went on till evening.

Joyalukkas has a total of 133 stores in the country as well as abroad. Manjali Jewellers have a few stores in key cities of Kerala. A few days ago, a team of officials from goods and services tax and central excise departments had conducted raids on several ‘angadia’ operators in Mumbai. Angadias are informal courier and bank service providers used by diamond and jewellery traders for tax evasion.

Reports said that the department had booked more than 200 angadia operators from Mumbai Central railway station and seized around 125 packets of diamond, gold jewellery and cash worth Rs 815 million.

Sangeetha G.