Rs 5.7 cr in new notes, 32 kg gold found in ‘secret bathroom chamber’

Miss Alone

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The Income Tax department on Saturday seized Rs 5.7 crore cash in new notes, 32kg of gold and jewellery, and Rs 90 lakh worth old notes stashed inside the bathroom tiles of a hawala dealer in the far-flung town of Challakere in Karnataka.

The department seized the alleged undisclosed assets from the unidentified hawala operator as part of its raids against black money hoarders post-demonetisation.

Challakere town, about 40km from district headquarters of Chitradurga, is popularly know as the ‘oil city’ due to the presence of a number of edible oil mills here.

The assets were recovered after the I-T department’s investigation wing in Panaji began searches on Friday against casino and bullion traders in Hubballi and Chitradurga districts.

Based on intelligence inputs about the presence of huge cash, the taxmen raided the premises and 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, and 28kg of gold biscuits, another 4kg of other gold and jewellery was stuffed inside this bathroom safe, which was kept sanitised against termites using hundreds of mothballs.

A good number of documents and another Rs 90 lakh cash (Rs 100/20 notes) has been seized after the searches on the said hawala dealer, they said.

“The searches in this case are still going on at various places and the valuation of the bullion and jewellery is being conducted,” the taxmen said.