FIIs pump $1.61 billion into Indian equities in April

According to analysts, FIIs have been pumping funds into India because of its strong growth potential. They feel that in the coming days too, foreign fund houses are likely to infuse money in the Indian bourses

Mumbai: Betting big on the Indian market, foreign fund houses invested $1.61 billion (about Rs7,213 crore) in Indian equities in the month of April, reports PTI.

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) were gross buyers of shares worth Rs54,174.40 crore, while they sold equities amounting to Rs46,961.10 crore, translating into a net investment of Rs7,213.30 crore, or $1.61 billion, as per data available with capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

According to analysts, FIIs have been pumping funds into India because of its strong growth potential. They feel that in the coming days too, foreign fund houses are likely to infuse money in the Indian bourses.

"The FII (segment) has been witnessing inflows in the last two months in India because they (investors) don't have many choices left. Besides, they are taking advantage of the country's growth potential," CNI Research CMD Kishore P Ostwal said.

In contrast, foreign fund houses were negative on the debt market and pulled out Rs17.20 crore. This takes the overall net investment by FIIs into stocks and bonds to a total of Rs7,196.10 crore.

In January 2011, overseas investors had pulled out Rs4,813.2 crore from the stock market. The outflows continued in February too, with Rs4,585.5 crore being taken out from equities. However, the scenario changed in March when they were net investors in equities worth Rs6,749.60 crore.

This has taken the gross purchases of equities in the country by FIIs so far this year to over Rs2.22 lakh crore. After taking into account the outgo of Rs2.17 lakh crore, overseas investors have made a net investment of Rs4,712.60 crore.

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Why are our income-tax and foreign exchange management laws riddled with so many incongruities?

Right from the definition of a ‘senior citizen’ for tax evaluation to the definition of a ‘Non-Resident Indian’, our tax and forex laws are full of inconsistencies and discrepancies. It is high time the government removed these lacunae

Our laws—mainly those dealing in economic matters like the Income-Tax (I-T) Act and Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) are flawed, and riddled with inconsistencies. They leave the common citizen utterly confounded.

In fact, when I was having an informal chat with a top bureaucrat, he remarked in a lighter vein that if all our laws were crystal clear, a citizen would not find the need to approach the sarkari babus, who would then become redundant… and sent home! This, he quipped, was the reason behind legal provisions that are often confusing.

Let’s examine a few of the lacunae:

In the first place, the term “senior citizen” is nowhere defined in the Income-Tax Act, 1962. For “senior citizen“  assessees, the Finance Act 2011 has lowered the age for the threshold limit from 65 years to 60 years in Part III of the First Schedule dealing with tax slabs and rates.

The same Act has additionally created a new category of “Very Senior Citizens”—above 80 years. According to a report there are only 15,000 tax assessees in this 80+ age bracket, and one of them will be Manmohan Singhji!

On the other hand, corresponding or consequential changes on the same lines have not been brought in elsewhere in the Income-Tax Act in Section 80D for granting enhanced deduction for premium on health insurance to assessees completing 65 years. Similarly Section 80DDB (allowing deduction for expenses on treatment of prescribed diseases) is also applicable to those completing 65 years. Corresponding changes to lower the age to 60 years in these Sections ought to have been brought about at the same time. This is a glaring flaw, and necessary amendments need to be brought about immediately.

The other grey area is the term NRI (Non-Resident Indian), both in the I-T Act and FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act). This term, with its variants ‘PIO/OIC’, (Person of Indian Origin/Overseas Citizenship of India), is freely and very loosely bandied about—both by bureaucracy and citizens. Yet there is no common definition.

The Income Statute classifies assesses into ‘Citizen’, ‘Resident but not Ordinarily Resident’ and ‘Not Resident’ depending upon the number of days of their stay in India and outside India.  

FEMA (and FERA—the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, now repealed) has an altogether different take on the criteria for defining an NRI—it lays down the purpose of the stay outside India, irrespective of the number of days spent outside India. Thus anyone, other than a person staying abroad to pursue business, profession or vocation but on a tour, for studies, prolonged medical treatment or to spend time with family staying there, is not considered an NRI under FEMA, even though he may be an NRI under the I-T Act.

The tax status of staying out has been imported by the Limited Liability Partnership Act. The authorities related to foreign exchange like the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) adopt the FEMA criteria. There are references to non-residents in the Companies Act, too. The FCRA (Foreign Currency Regulation Act) however, refers to “Foreign Citizens”.

The US IRS (Internal Revenue Service) has rightly targeted our diaspora who were trying to get the best of both worlds—residing abroad and not paying taxes on their funds parked in Indian banks in NRE (Non-Resident External)/FCNR (Foreign Currency Non-Resident) Accounts, which are tax exempt. The laws both in the US/UK as well as in India are very clear—declare the income earned anywhere in the world and claim legitimate exemptions/deductions like those provided by the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreements entered into between the countries of their residence and India.  

Since both the taxation and forex statutes fall within the ambit of the legislative jurisdiction of the finance ministry, both these definitions need to be appropriately synchronised. There is no legal justification for applying two differing standards to a same individual.

(The author is a Chartered Accountant and has been an auditor of a number of insurance companies)

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COMMENTS

nisban

6 years ago

[Reposted for an error in wrong mention of email address.]
Is it not suggestivem following the strain of the comments posted so far, that the FCRA office cannot be accessed/contacted through the internet for want of any e-mail contact address, even in today's atmosphere of the clarion call by Anna Hazare to revolt asgainst corruption and the general demand for transparency in governance? The only way to forward all this discussion to the FCRA is to send by post to The address to communicate with this Division is as follows: The Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Foreigners Division,
Jaisalmer House, 26 Mansingh Road,
New Delhi-110 011.
How very thoughtful of the IAS to leep it safe and protected and totally insulated from the polluting conundrum of grievances of the ordinary people!

nisban

6 years ago

Is it not suggestivem following the strain of the comments posted so far, that the FCRA office cannot be accessed/contacted through the internet for want of any e-mail contact address, even in today's atmosphere of the clarion call by Anna Hazare to revolt asgainst corruption and the general demand for transparency in governance? The only way to forward all this discussion to the FCRA is to send by post to The address to communicate with this Division is as follows: The Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Foreigners Division,
Jaisalmer House, 26 Mansingh Road,
New Delhi-110 011.
How very thoughtful of the IAS to leep it safe and protected and totally insulated from the polluting conundrum of grievances of the ordinary people!

TiraT

6 years ago

Now that Mr. Upadhyay has named the organisations, they shall invariably be visited with the severest punishment by the authorities, including the necessary denial of whatever aoporoval or concession they are legally entitled to and seeking. The Home ministry can areck havoc on any person and the IT department is so totally power-drunk as to unlawfully destroy the citizens' lives and properties and the charitable societies, unless their top officers and staff are paid their dues. The same applies traditionally to the department in MHA dealing with FCRA. Let us wait for Mr. Upadhyay's subsequent confirmation of the punishment meted out to the various NGOs named by him.

B Upadhyay

6 years ago

I have been following the lively discussions on the fine and thought provoking article of Shri Nagesh. I have noticed a tendency among the participants to refrain from stating the names of the sufferers of official apathy, harassment and compulsory punitive levies called bribes. I have an inkling that this emanates from the fear of tremendously tortuous and deadly reprisals from the official quarters, as is common. In India, harassment by authorities is so very naked and, since highly paid civil servants also expect and demand “tips” from the public like the petty waiters in restaurants, it is risky to expose these organizations to further denial of the benefits being sought by them. There is perhaps one more reason. That is, none of the government anti-corruption and regulatory bodies or the ministry of public grievances has a built-in system of overseeing these websites as feeds for their work. I doubt whether the Lokpal or Jan Lokpal, if ever born, will also watch your site or another very interactive and informative site for consumers. The same for the sites devoted to the RTI movement. Be that as it may, I would like to share with your readers a few examples of associations with which I have been associated.
One is a hospital run by the retrenched workers of a once huge factory in Howrah in Bengal. After losing their jobs, and closure of the factory, the workers did not lose their heart and entirely by their own initiative, started a hospital named as the Sramajibi Hospital under the banner of Belur Sramajibi Swasthya Prakalpa Samity. Even the patients’ cots, OT tables, etc., were manufactured/made by the workers themselves. The hospital is running for the last three decades, despite repeated attempts by the CPIM to destroy the facility and hand over the land to the promoters. All this is part of recorded history in terms of media reports.
When the society applied for approval under section 35AC for its ongoing expansion scheme, it was summarily rejected, after several hints to the attending volunteers to “meet” a certain person in the CBDT. As the hospital runs entirely on public donations and on a shoestring budget and pays only token allowances to the helpers (no salary is paid), it was not possible to garner the funds and do the needful. But a sympathizer-worker (a journalist himself) did venture to see an officer who curtly advised him to engage a given CA in Delhi to get the work done. Anyway, after the rejection of this first application, and as advised by a knowledgeable sympathizer, a second application has been made and it is certain to be rejected again for the failure on the part of the society to abide by the unwritten law of punitive taxation!
The same experience followed with the FCRA too. The first application was summarily rejected after a long wait and the refusal by the officials to talk to the aforesaid sympathizer-worker unless approached through one of the department’s (unofficial) panel of “aggregators”. As this would cost very heavily, the society could not afford to do so and the application stood rejected. Another application has been filed and is yet to be decided pending “field inspection” which was never done earlier. It can be expected that the officials shall repeat their performance for want of failure on the part of the society to listen to the officials. It is really open and naked and, under the present system, one can never even venture to meet the all-powerful officials, notwithstanding a thousand Anna Hazares.
Another NGO, always in need of funds, and working with and for the marginalized section of the society (Society for Regional Research and Analysis, Delhi) took 6 years in obtaining their first ever section 80G certificate! The Asstt. Director directly demanded money quoting the Director who refused to meet the official representatives of the society. It was learnt that such bif officers like the DIO, the DG, the Addl. Director, etc. of the department dealing with 80G matters of income tax DO NOT MEET ORDINARY PUBLIC! The dealing clerks and the then officer advised the workers to come through/with a certain CA, but that would cost several times more than what SRRA collects by way of public donations and alms! So the Director rejected the application twice on the found that it WAS NOT RUNNING A SCHOOL as claimed, though the dealing Asstt. Director never visited the school or asked the society to “arrange” for his visit and the accompanying facilities. The Director never heard them either. I understood later that, ultimately the certificate was granted no doubt, only recently, thanks to the intervention of a kind political figure which was frowned upon by the Director and his team.
Yes, the concerned societies all failed to take recourse to the RTI. The reason is, once this is done, the officers concerned will destroy the initiatives.
I am sorry for the length of my comments provoked by the gospel of the retired high officials. E&OE.
































































captainjohann

6 years ago

What the bureaucrat said in lighter vein is actually the truth.The Anna revolution is basically against these archaic laws of India which are meant to breed corruption by delaying citizens rights. Kinis article and Mr.Bannerjee's comments are revealing

Nagesh KiniFCA

6 years ago

It is gratifying to see the former members of the Income Tax writing about the blatant abuse of law on charities. yes, the NGO sector is full of bogus ones, CAPHART says a whole lot of them ought not be there. Some time back there was a call by the for re-registration. We need to know now the names. After all the Voluntary Sector are acknowleged as the second largest employer after the Govt. It needs to be regulated.

Nagesh KiniFCA

6 years ago

I entirely agree with Aurobindo Banerjee. Permit me let him know that I know of othersin the Revenue Dept. who can claim to have 'unremarkable careers' like Aurobido. They did reach the highest echelons and regret that they couldn't reach their full potential. In fact one CCIT is an Intervenor in Ram Jethmalani's bring the Swiss Bank loot back PIL.
All that is written about the NGO sector is absolutely true.
As one professionally dealing with this sector- the remedy to deal with a whole lot of flaws is to bring the Public Trust Act, Income Tax and FCRA provisions under a common umbrella. FCRA under Ministry of Home makes no sense whatsoever.

REPLY

Aurobindo Banerjee

In Reply to Nagesh KiniFCA 6 years ago

I am grateful for the most enlightening comments of CA Nagesh Kini, especially as regards his suggestion that 'the remedy to deal with a whole lot of flaws is to bring the Public Trust Act, Income Tax and FCRA provisions under a common umbrella' and also that 'FCRA under Ministry of Home makes no sense whatsoever'. Yes, I am also aware of my senior associated with the PIL. I wrote chiefly from the point of view of one associated with the eternally fund-starved NGOs who work silently without the ability to engage public school and elite college-educated and sophisticated fund-raisers and also to approach the CBDT and the MHA through their selected agents for obtaining the benefits which could greatly solve their financial problems. The large number of bogus NGOs, mostly operated and run by the top and influential civil servants' wives/children stand on a different and privileged scale. My reference was to the other exttreme, really. But grateful I sam to the learned Mr. Kini who may kindly also see my reply to Mr. Shibaji Das, IRS (Retd.) and ex-Member, CBDT and once my superior.

Shibaji Dash

6 years ago

Further to my comments posted an hour or so ago on charity provisions in the IT Act and administration as such of charitable organisations : bogus NGOs have mushroomed in the mineral rich states that are well populated by tribals who have adopted or have been made to adopt religeous practices unknown to them years ago. There does exist a not easily visible but direct nexus between the happening of mineral ((loot) money and the proffessed objectives of tribal welfare and upliftment. by NGOs in these regions . The more tense is the conflict in a district the more is the no. of these NGOs.Less a tribal district is ridden by coflicts, less is the no of NGOs in that district. Some of NGOs are of course doing work in the ground but their visibility is unimpressive to the discerning mind.

Shibaji Dash

6 years ago

Aurobindo Banerjee ought to know better than many, having the 1st hand experience of an insider for more than 3 decades. One can not fully take away the conflict of interest when it comes to the enactment of the restrictive provisions of the IT Act. After all, charity is the world over- worst in India-a covenient vehicle for tax avoidance/evasion.But this limitation certainly does not absolve the Finmin from the sin of enacting counter productive or self defeating provisions in the Act and gross maladministration thereof. We however need to recall that the IT Act is not a regulatory charity legislation. Charity is an item in the Concurrent List of the Constitution- and quite rightly so because administration of charity is a local matter, governed as it is by local culture and belefs. To my knowledge onlu the Maharastra Govt. not only has state legislations customising the Indian Trust Act enacted by the Britishers.May be, Gujarat has one. But in most of the States there are, if there are, hackneyed and disperate legislations and a junior functionary like a Dy. Collector is delegated the functions by the District Collector. Both the State and the Center will have to address the problems to have a respectable legal charity regime and effective administrative set up. Incidentally, the exemption or charity returns filed by the Societies/Trusts reportedly contain tell tale evidence of tax abuse but are hardly utilised by the tax man. Aurobindo's experience about the rank incompetence of the Exemption Directorate is shared by many and vented too. Who listens? Ironically, going by data available with concerned Central Ministies like, Social Welfare, Labour and also Finmin, overwhelming no. of NGOs exist only on paper ie, bogus. They loot public money and also work as the vehicle for tax avidance.With Aurobindo's evidence, IRS in India is overrated.

REPLY

Aurobindo Banerjee

In Reply to Shibaji Dash 6 years ago

I can hardly disagree with Shibaji, my senior and friend who oversaw the functioning of the entire department from a much higher level. He is certainly right, but being associated with some genuine NGOs working among the street children and children from the redlight area (and, that too, in a most backward district of Bengal), and a workers-run hospital in Belur (where heart operations cost Rs. 25,00), etc., I am aware of the real problems faced by these for want of FCRA and 35CCA approvals which cost enormously. It is too denigrating to even speak of these filthy functional realities of the CBDT and the Min of Home Affairs (dealing with the FCRA), and all fund-starved NGOs and those associated with them are aware of these too. I thank Mr. Kini too for his comments on my remarks and regret the delay in responding to both.

Aurobindo Banerjee

6 years ago

The very relevant question raised by the author and a very pertinent and lucid analysis indeed and I thank him for the same. From my own personal experience of rather a most unremarkable career in the Indian Revenue Service for 35 years, I can also add that, apart from the deliberate and conscious strategy of keeping the laws beyond the comprehension of even sufficient intelligence and even a sprinkle of legal knowledge, the reasons for which have been most cruelly expressed by Mr. Bharat Joshi, the laws are also definitely discriminatory in favour of the elitist class having a direct say in and the right to dictate the government's economic and political policies-inter alia as members of the PMEAC and NAC, etc. A provision has been incorporated in the FCRA stipulating a limit of just a pittance of Rs. 1 lakh per year upto which an NGO can receive foreign contributions (even from relations/friends)., while it is more difficult to collect donations from the corporates in India who in any case are unapproachable otherwise theough some exceptioally public-spirited and courageous govt. servants in authority and empowered to exercise legal discretions. And, to be frank, approaching the FCRA authorities is a stupendous task, impossible for the NGOs fro the remotest parts, without the paid services of prohibitively expensive middlemen. As a result, and for instance, while the FCRA has been amended almost stealthily without even making the proposed amendment public and specifically calling the attention of the affected/interested NGOs to the utter detriment of the ordinary Indian (native?) NGOs struggling to remain afloat to continue their charitable pursuits for the marginalised people or those even below the BPL, the Income-tax Act has been made so very restrictive in its application as regards the benefits available to the charitable societies as to debar them from approaching the citizens/philanthropists for donations in a most competitive market for soliciting donations almost entirely dominated by the Business School-educated MBAs engaged by the "multinational" NGOs with HQ abroad for this purpose. From my persoal interaction as one associated with rather unsophisticated and un-aristrocratic NGOs catering to the hapless, homeless widows, orphans,and the poorest of the poor class living on the verges of the cruel urban limits, I must admit rather shamelessly that, unless connected with the most powerfully influential strata of the ruling elite and a most professionally-built up network right from the public school days, it is impossible to obtain the beneficial approval under section 35AC of the Income-tax Act and, while a rejection is the rule, seldom are the applicants are even favoured with the anticipated rejection letters from the National Council which DOES NOT MEET even occasionally. A workers' hospital started by the jobless workers of a closed factory had started the venture with generous public support. For years it has failed to obtain this certificate to be able to collect tax-free donations and, the first application having been rejected without any hearing but intimated by a cryptic and non-speaking letter (not an "order"!), the subsequent ones were not even acknowledged. The reasons are, sadly speaking, too clear even in these days of the stated transparency in the administration still being run as usual by the same class as ever. And, as regards, obtaining the basic recognition under section 12AA of the Act (for obtaining the benefit of section 80G to raise donations of which 50% is tax-exempt), the stench of the filth is so overpowering as to discourage the NGOs of no pedigree to directly approach the offices of the Directors General/Directors of Exemption. In any case, they are invariavly advised to engage particular "representatives" to get the certificate and the cost is really beyond these poor NGOs and beneficiaries of their .sacrifices. Thus, in a country where it is unthinkable for the State to be omnipresent (though omnipotent) with its outreach to the most difficult-to-reach hamlets inhabited by unrecognised citizens (without voting rights even), without basic amenities of drinking warter, healthcare, primary schools, and the like, and the residents destined to be born and die without ever been registered as residents of Mera Bharat Mahaan, the small little services being rendered by the "lowlife" NGOs of common people are also being thawrted by our eminently ignorant bureaucrats depending entirely on the feedback from the lower underlings.
Can NAC at least hear me?

REPLY

sucheta

In Reply to Aurobindo Banerjee 6 years ago

Dear Mr Banerjee

Many thanks for this excellent , excellent analysis. Once again request you to write for Moneylife!
And thanks for your erudite observations on many of our pieces.
regards
sucheta

Aurobindo Banerjee

In Reply to sucheta 6 years ago

Your kind invitation is extremely alluring and an honour too, but for a bohemian like me, it is so difficult to organise myself and write a fullfledged article read by the eminent people! Shall try. But comments shall be there from time to time.

Bharat Joshi

6 years ago

It is simple and obvious...........so that the tax lawyers and ca's make money. Mr. Nani Palkhiwala said long ago that, " If tax laws are simplified, most of the tax consultants will be redundent." Will it ever happen, your guess is as good as mine..................

Vikas

6 years ago

As rightly pointed out by the bureaucrat, it is intentional rather than omission.

TiraT

6 years ago

The answer to the question posed as the heading of the piece is simple-because the authorities (both political and bureaucratic) do not want, in their vested interest, to simplify the laws so as to be able to share the loot/booty with the criminals/law-breakers, lawyers/CAs and the field officers! When the entire system is so corrupt from the top to the bottom as would be blatant enough to stall the PAC report on the 2G Scam or to criticise the CAG's findings on the CWG loot, the state of the moral fibre of the nation can be gauged easily. Political will is conspicuously missing, as much as the thoroghly corrupt and time-serving bureaucrats' desire to earn even an honest day's upkeep! One can just recall that the Benami Transactions Act was passed almost four decades ago. The Rules are yet to be framed under this Act though the draft had been submitted by the as yet less contaminated and reasonably less corrupt CBDT almost immediately only for the successive Revenue Secretaries to sit tight on the file to pleae and at the behest of the nexus between political-bureaucratic-big money-underworld.

Indian tax authorities receive international assistance in tracking the trade in stolen luxury cars

Lately, insurers and other agencies have been fitting the cars with transponders, as well as bugging devices, which work globally on mobile phone or satellite phone technology, which gives them a fairly good idea of where the cars are going. It seems that some of this information is being made available to the authorities here

The luxury car market in India is abuzz again, as it comes under the microscope—yet again—of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), certainly the most-feared and stringent organisation in the business of catching smugglers and tax-evaders. Media reports are sketchy on the subject, after all the offending car and bike manufacturers are among the biggest advertisers, so due caution will be exercised by commercial departments over the editorial reportage.

This comes on top of the after-effects of the anti-corruption movement that is increasingly taking on the colour of a campaign to identify and prevent theft of national assets, and the luxury car business is square in the sights of both the widening view of the public as well as investigating arms of the government. (Read, “High-end cars, bikes seized: DRI”; “Bentleys, Rolls, stolen in Europe, sold to desi rich”.)

  The fact remains that there is not a single name from the range of luxury car manufacturers—Ferrari, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Masserati, Buggatti, Humvee, Audi, among others—which are not currently in the picture here. Information on numbers also is still opaque, with confirmed figures mentioning around 40 cars, but with the speculation going up to over 300-400 cars, as many of these cars are possessed by the high and mighty.

If galley rumour and grapevine is to be believed, then many high-end cars which were seen on the streets of our larger cities have quietly been, over the last few days, re-located to farmhouses and secret locations, till things cool down. This includes cars used as media loaner and demo models, which is why every so often you see media-test cars onscreen and in magazines with their registration numbers missing or covered up.

Most of these cars are owned, or operated, or intended for no less than the high and mighty of our country, including many of our law-makers as well as elected representatives, who get away with more than a few crimes, because their vehicles sport fancy red beacons and sirens, and race through check-posts and toll-gates without having to provide identity or documentation. The head of Delhi's Traffic Police, in a message to this writer, bemoaned the fact that he had orders "from above" not to check cars belonging to people in governance, public servants, whether they were officials or elected, and that's the simple truth which we all know too.
 
That some of the high and mighty are currently guests of the state in assorted jails, especially Tihar jail, is another related issue. Suresh Kalmadi made Audi famous by driving up to the offices of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a brand new Audi A8(L) version, equipped with member of Parliament sticker on the front windscreen and red beacon discreetly tucked away inside. That's OK, he could have come in a private jet, and that's about par for the course too. But, the fact remains, this business of too many grey luxury cars on our streets has been coming for a while. MoneyLife has been reporting regularly on this racket for the last few years. (Read, “Numbers game”) 

As a matter of fact, this writer was approached by somebody from the UK a few months ago, wanting to know more about the luxury car business in India. The conversation soon turned to second-hand luxury cars, and once we exchanged more information about each other, to the more direct topic of where the stolen luxury cars were going and who was maintaining them, since that is how these cars are usually tracked. It turned out that we had common friends, including somebody who had been in my school and was now a senior policeman in London, and that's one reason why they had touched base with me. The other reason was that I had been writing about the subject.
 
The way it goes in the UK is that somebody buys a luxury car in England or South Africa and then declares it stolen, or simply steals a luxury car, and ships it to India via certain entry points. The countries mentioned are Turkey, Cyprus, Albania and of course, Nepal and the UAE. While this is in the realm of speculation, there is no smoke without a fire. The car then enters India through a variety of routes, including—it is reported—diplomatic channels, and then gets absorbed into the local Indian market. Even this is not new, it has been going on for decades.

But what is new is that since late, insurers and other agencies in the UK have, in some cases, been fitting the cars with transponders, as well as bugging devices, which work globally on mobile phone or satellite phone technology, and this gives them a fairly good idea of where the cars are going. This has often been done without the knowledge of the manufacturers, who in some cases are suspected to be accomplices in such crimes, as it helps them get the cars across to a market and customer.
 
It is now being assumed that this information on cars that have been stolen abroad and are being tracked down with the help of these devices is open domain and details may have been provided to the authorities here. That our authorities may act in some cases and may choose not to act or continue listening in some other cases, is best illustrated with this anecdote—a friend who is in the business of confidential information adding to his business prospects, used to regularly get his office and home checked for bugs. Once in a way he would get his cars checked too. Very recently, he upgraded the team used for this, and they found that not only were a few of his cars transmitting everything spoken inside—they were also reporting back the location and movement. And that this was suspected to be part of the original equipment in the car, not some after-market fitment, which says something again about customer service.

In the motoring media, we always knew that cars loaned to media persons for road tests often had bugging devices fitted inside, or were in some way or the other monitored. Very often, these cars did not have proper documentation too, and after some time for both these reasons I stopped really going out for road tests on such cars. But just about a month ago, one of these European luxury car manufacturers offered me a test car, a new version of their existing luxury car. When it reached my home, I took a close look at the documents (it sported an out-of-state number) and found that the registration was for one number, the insurance was another, and neither of them matched the engine and chassis numbers in actual fact.
 
I took my own modest little Maruti Swift for the drive. And as on date, I know for a fact that more than a few of my friends who drive expensive luxury cars, are quietly getting the documents re-verified and also getting them scanned for bugging and tracking devices. This is in addition, of course, to the simple fact that the number of expensive luxury cars parked in the areas where I go for a walk every morning seem to have come down.

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COMMENTS

A retired IRS officer

6 years ago

Sadly, this also happens to be another piece yet from a naive and ill-informed person who more relies on theory that the ground realities. It must first be acknowledged that, from the 1960s, the Income-tax department has been in the receipt of all relevant info. about tax evasion. In the present times, with the technological advancements, the flow has become heavier and faster-that is the only doifference. But the basic mindset and the level of integrity having totally become attuned to and corrupted by the prevailing bureaucratic values of greed and money-making, all the information/intelligence received is invariably used not only by the unscrupulously dishonest and lowlife officers of the IT department from the top to bottom, but more by the real bureaucrats (read:IAS) for their personal pecuniary and career moves. This is what is conspicuously missing in any report by all and sundry, run-off-the-mill reporters/economic columnists on the state of the IRS vis-a-vis the IAS/real bureaucratic muscle power in India and their political bosses. And here lies the main reason of the rot. The IT deptt. or the CBDT or the IRS happens to be a toothless paper tiger solely under the IAS who in turn are ever bending backward to please the political masters. It is they who begin the ball of corruption rolling downward and the lower menials in the deptt./IRS are only too eager to jump on the slightest opportunity to please the civil servant bosses in the IAS and CSS and to gather the crumbs of leftovers. Corruption flows downwards and not vice versa. As a result, the information received by the IT deptt can never be properly (read purposefully) used to unearth black money as any proposed action by the Inv. wing in the country is bound to be foiled by the CBDT and the IAS in their interest. This also is the result of a continuing disregard for the brilliant investigative and legal work still being done by the neglected officers of the department despite the obstacles created daily by the top bosses in the Revenue Department/CBDT, apart from the Ministers who interfere even in the routine transfers of peons and clerks!

REPLY

Malq

In Reply to A retired IRS officer 6 years ago

Thank you for writing in sir. Your first hand observations on the IRS are welcome and quite in line with what we hear too. However, the difference is that many of us like to think that there is hope and things will improve.

Why don't you write for us, please, or come out and try to be an instrument of change? Many of us will only benefit from your observations, expertise and factual positions.

Till then, please wish us well.

ONCE AGAIN, thank you for writing in, and so frankly at that.

Veeresh malik

A retired IRS

In Reply to Malq 6 years ago

The fact that I wish you well is manifest in my accessing the site and commenting at length on the otherwise informative article.

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