Traders Of Bitcoin In India Come Under Enforcement Directorate, I-T scanner
According to LiveMint ,Enforcement Directorate and the income tax department (IT) jointly raided the users of cryptocurrencies suspecting money laundering, fraud and tax evasion
After surveying the bitcoin exchanges for quite some time, investigative agencies in India have turned their lens on people dealing & trading in bitcoins. The Income tax department along with the Enforcement Directorate revealed last month that bitcoin users are being suspected of engaging in fraud, money laundering and tax evasion. An ED official who wished to remain anonymous stated that bitcoin users in Surat and Ahmedabad were surveyed last month by various agencies. He also added fuel to the fire by hinting at various suspicious findings of the survey which has triggered further cause of concern amongst the law-makers and enforcers.
The IT official revealed that:
“The income tax department sent notices to bitcoin users who were conducting transactions of more than Rs1 crore daily. These details have been passed onto the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is examining them for alleged money laundering and fraud.”
Companies as well as individuals in Surat who have been dealing in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have faced massive scrutiny as revealed by a bitcoin exchange executive. He pointed out that,
“Last week, ED investigated many individuals and companies in Surat who are connected to bitcoin trading. Actually, the entire system got stopped for two days and they all went out of business. The individuals who have been investigated have traded with the major bitcoin exchanges in the country. The IT department wants to do an analysis of where the money has gone. The individuals, who have been targeted for the ED investigation, are those who may have done a lot of transactions in a few accounts.”
Both the government and the regulators have been keeping a close eye on trading of bitcoin in India. The Reserve Bank of India issued a warning in December cautioning users citing financial, economic, legal, operational, security and consumer protected risks of associating with bitcoins for the third time in row.
Following the cautionary note released by RBI, PTI reported in December that a survey has been conducted by the income tax department at the bigshot bitcoin exchanges in India on account of suspicion concerning alleged tax evasion.
Several high-networth individuals (HNI) were issued notices for revealing details about cryptocurrency holdings by the IT Department.
Are Cryptocurrencies Banned In India?
Recently, Mr. Arun Jaitley, the Finance Minister of India mentioned that the Indian government does not recognises cryptocurrencies as a legal tender of money in his 2018 Union Budget Speech.
After his speech, several media channels claimed that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are banned in India without understanding the Finance Minister’s speech completely.
The Finance Minister Said:
“The government does not recognise cryptocurrency as legal tender or coin and will take all measures to eliminate the use of these cryptoassets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payments system,”
Media interpreted wrongly stating that cryptocurrencies are declared illegal. No! Cryptocurrencies are not banned in India.
Cryptocurrencies not being recognised as legal tender means that the government means that no one in India cannot make/receive payments in exchange of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoins. For example, a person cannout buy electronic items, food items, clothes etc in exchange of Bitcoin. Neither any professional like Charted Accountant, Company Secreatry etc can provide it’s services in exchange of Bitcoins.
However, it is never been declared that holding,buying,selling bitcoins in India are illegal.
On being asked why bitcoin were not banned, the Finance Minster after his budget speech clarified that, at present the government does not encourage citizens to buy bitcoins in India. He also mentioned that a committee has been formed to examine cryptocurrencies and based on it’s results, the government will announce further regulations.
Source- DD NEWS
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