THE INCOME Tax department has recovered unaccounted cash of ` 34 crore from commodity trader Stockguru during a raid. The company had got the money from people under trading schemes promising high returns.

The I- T sleuths also discovered that the company had an undisclosed income of ` 105 crore that is liable to be taxed.

Other than this, they seized ` 10 crore from two hawala operators during raids over the past two days, bringing the total amount recovered to ` 44 crore. This is the largest cash haul by the Income Tax department ( ITD), the Central Board of Direct Taxes ( CBDT) said in a statement.

Stockguru had sought investments in commodity trading schemes by promising returns as high as 25 per cent, said IT sources. Lokeshwar Dev is the chairman and managing director of the trading company that is now under the IT glare.

StockguruIndia website states that the company has established itself as financial consultancy and claims that it is known for its expert advice for making investors’ money grow at a faster pace.

It says: ” We offer trading solutions in equity, derivatives, currency futures, commodities trading, IPOs, insurance ( life/ non- life), general insurance, mutual funds, portfolio management services, terminal handling all under one roof.” Though the company claims that they are transparent in the functioning, Stockguru allegedly was not maintaining any regular books of accounts that would have given a clear picture of the investments made in schemes offered to people.

An ITD officer said they would go through the documents to find out the attractive schemes offered, names of investors, the amount hedged and other details crucial to discovering how tax was diverted away from the government coffers.

The company had appointed agents to attract investments, IT officials said.

According to the CBDT spokesperson, the three commodity traders, who were searched, have admitted to undisclosed income of ` 155 crore. The traders were found to be raising money from the public promising high returns, he said.

The traders were investing in commodities market and metal trade and their area of operation included Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

The money seized during the raids would be utilised towards their tax liability, the spokesperson added.

According to Stockguru, ” We always hedge our trades / investment to avoid losses. Hedging is the process to reduce losses and not to make huge profits. Hedging in stock market can be referred to insurance. If there is a crash or sudden trend reversal in market condition that is unfavourable against our trades our hedging strategy will save us from huge losses.” The company also boasts that ” our success secret is we always take out profits from all our trades so that we don’t bear the heat when the market falls or goes in unfavourable conditions”. The CBDT spokesperson further disclosed that a similar search carried out at Asansol in West Bengal a few days ago led to recovery of ` 12.57 crore cash.

The persons involved admitted to undisclosed income of ` 150 crore.

The ITD’s drive against tax evasion is an ongoing process and in the last two years, it has detected unaccounted income to the tune of ` 15,000 crore, claimed the CBDT spokesperson.

There have been several cases wherein unaccounted income of over ` 100 crore was admiited and taxes levied. A recent search operation had led to declaration of undisclosed income of ` 507 crore by a steel company. A real estate major had surrendered ` 325 crore after they came under the tax scanner, official sources said.

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