Metros are home to many crorepati ‘agriculturists’ as Finance MInister Arun Jaitley said

NEW DELHI(PTI): Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru have the maximum number of entities who have declared an agricultural income of over Rs. 1 crore in the last nine assessment years with the Income Tax department.

Finance MInister Arun Jaitley said many prominent personalities were involved in concealing taxable income as agricultural earnings. Photo: R.V. Moorthy

Finance MInister Arun Jaitley said many prominent personalities were involved in concealing taxable income as agricultural earnings. Photo: R.V. Moorthy

As per official data in this regard, accessed by PTI, between Assessment Years (AYs) 2007-08 and 2015-16, a total of 321 assesses declared agricultural wealth over Rs. 1 crore in Bengaluru region, followed by Delhi (275), Kolkata (239), Mumbai (212), Pune (192), Chennai (181), Hyderabad (162), Thiruvananthapuram (157) and Kochi (109).

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, on Tuesday, said in Parliament that many prominent people are being probed for allegedly concealing taxable income as agricultural earnings.

“Many prominent people” are said to be involved and are being probed, he said. “Please don’t say it is political victimisation if names come out after that [probe].”

The I-T department Assessing Officers have been asked to “verify” a select number of cases in this category under assessment years between 2011-12 and 2013-14.

The move came in view of a PIL filed in the Patna High Court where concerns have been raised that some of the declarants could be engaged in routing their un-accounted or illegal funds in the “garb” of farm income.

Agricultural income is exempt from Income Tax in the country.

The official data in this regard said a total of 2,746 entities have declared agricultural income of above Rs. 1 crore in the last nine AYs, between 2007-08 and 2015-16 and a probe has to be conducted for a block period of three AYs (2011-12 to 2013-14).