Prakash Dubey
Prakash Dubey

"When there are sums like Rs 2 lakh crore being publicised, it is bound to become the talk of the town," says former Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Prakash Dubey.

The city buzzing about the mystery family of four, Abdul Razzaque Sayed (self), Mohammed Aarif (son), Rukhsana Sayed (wife) and Noorjahan Sayed (sister) Bandra (W) Linking Road residents declaring Rs 2 lakh crore under the Income Declaration Scheme (IDS), which has been rejected by the Income Tax Department.

South Mumbai based Dubey laughs as he says, "Like everybody else I too was startled to read about this figure. I think this is close to 50 per cent of the total income tax declaration budget for the country through the year, and when it is made by one individual or a family it is time to change surprised and startled to shock."

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The former Income Tax official says, "People need to read Section 193 of the IDS which categorically states that, notwithstanding anything contained in this scheme, where a declaration has been made by misrepresentation or suppression of facts, such declaration shall be void and shall be deemed never to have been made under this scheme."

This, Dubey says, is what has made this R2 lakh crore declaration null and void, it smacks of misrepresentation, or suppression of facts, so it needs investigation.

Dubey recalls the other declaration making news that of Mahesh Shah of Ahmedabad, which is to the tune of Rs 13,680 crore. "Reports say that Mahesh has come forward and stated that it is not his money, this confession cannot be then termed as a declaration. The IDS was proposed so that a person can come clean about his own money. You cannot create an alibi."

Dubey rolls back the years to 1978, he retired from the Income Tax in 2006, "when the earlier demonetization happened. At that time, a Mumbai person declared a sum of Rs 87 lakh and it was considered whopping, though it would be peanuts today! I investigated that case, which created interest and excitement in the city, just like the Bandra declaration.

I remember the man who declared used to not even pay income tax! He was a front for X, Y, Z, I am not taking any names, and the investigation closed after one whole year, investigations can take that long and the aim, of course, is to reach a conclusion," concludes Dubey. "Mumbai, you need to wait and watch," adds Dubey, a keen photographer and on the advisory committee on the conservation of the Asiatic Lion, adds as a postscript.