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DEVESH K. PANDEY

Financial investigation agencies have gathered prima facie evidence suggesting that a number of jewellers and foreign exchange operators in the country indulged in illicit conversion of demonetised Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes. The Customs Intelligence has zeroed in over 400 big jewellers in 25 cities on reports that soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation, they showed a sharp jump in sales. In the black market, the gold price had gone up to Rs. 50,000 for 10 grams. In one case, a jeweller sold 201 kg of gold in just three days, leaving a minuscule balance in its coffers. His accounts are being scrutinised. “We will share the findings with our sister agencies for necessary action. The Income Tax Department is keeping track of the transactions in question and has served notice,” said a senior Customs official. An estimated 2.5 million jewellers and half-a-million goldsmiths operate across the country.

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