The Income Tax (I-T) department on Saturday seized an unaccounted amount of 5.7 crore in the currency of the new Rs 2000 notes in Chitradurga and Hubballi in Karnataka. I-T officials also seized 90 lakh in old notes and 32 kg in gold bullion. The officials recovered the cash and gold from a ‘secret bathroom chamber’ of a hawala dealer. The department seized the alleged undisclosed assets, as part of its raids against black money hoarders post demonetisation, from the residence of the said hawala operator who is yet to be identified.
Officials said the taxman raided the premises based on intelligence inputs about the presence of huge cash and the sleuths were startled to find a cleverly-hidden stainless steel safe, above the wash basin, inside the tiled walls of the bathroom. The cash stash of Rs 5.7 crore, all in new Rs 2,000 notes, 28 kg of bullion (gold biscuits), 4 kg of other gold and jewellery was stuffed inside this bathroom safe, which was kept sanitised against termites using hundreds of mothballs. The assets were recovered after the department’s investigation wing in Panaji on Friday began searches against casino and bullion traders in Hubballi and Chitradurga districts.