The Mumbai and Surat offices of the Income-Tax department are conducting joint raids at diamond firms here since Thursday. These raids are a follow-up action of several documents recovered from Mumbai’s diamond traders.
Reacting to the I-T raids, Surat-Navsari BJP MP C R Paatil has written to President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, terming these as “harassment”.
The Directorate of Investigations wing officials of Mumbai’s I-T department carried out raids across several diamond trading firms in Mumbai while some of them also came to Surat on Wednesday night. Surat and Mumbai I-T officials carried out searches in five diamond trading firms here and one angadia firm which has offices in Mumbai and Gujarat. More than 100 officials were involved in the raids which covered both residential premises and offices.
Following the raids, many traders of Mahidharpura and Varachha stayed at home on Saturday and skipped offices.
I-T sources said, the agency had information that several diamond traders and manufacturers were involved in illegal activities like preparing fake documents pertaining to imports and exports of rough and polished diamonds which they were selling to local small traders to avail tax benefits. On Friday, several documents were recovered from diamond traders and sent to Mumbai by I-T department officials for further verifications.
Paatil said in a press conference on Saturday that he wrote the letters after some diamond merchants approached him.
He said, “Under pressure from the Congress the I-T department has targeted diamond merchants of Surat. They are carrying out raids in an illegal manner. They only have summons and not warrants. With summons they can only check account books and stock, but officials are carrying out raids in the homes of diamond merchants. For three consecutive days, the family members of diamond merchants have not been allowed to go outside their houses. They have violated human rights. We have written to the President, PM and FM, and if no steps are taken we will take out a rally and agitate outside the I-T office here.”