India is one of the world’s most corrupt countries and has been ranked second only to Iran in the last year by Transparency International, an organisation that monitors corruption.
The recent crackdown on illegal activity in the country, which has the third-highest number of people killed on Indian soil, has been described as a war on the poor.
A report by Transparency India, a non-governmental organisation, said there had been an average of 632 cases of tax evasion in India over the last four years.
The report said it could not identify the exact number of cases.
The report noted that the number of tax evaders was also at an all-time high.
But what is the scope of the tax evasion, and what does it have to do with the criminal justice system?
What is the ‘Indian tax evasion’?
Tax evasion is defined as an act of wilful failure to pay taxes or a wilful avoidance of tax.
The report states that between 2012 and 2015, India had a total of 1,848 cases of evasion, which included a number of large and small businesses and private individuals.
The government was accused of using a variety of methods to tax the businesses, including the withholding of taxes and the use of fictitious accounts, the report said.
The government was also accused of “torturing” businesses and using “anti-incumbency” tactics to intimidate them into paying taxes, the watchdog said.
In the report, the NGO said that the government had targeted tax evasion through a range of methods including false and misleading statements, “unethical practices”, false and inaccurate records and other illegal activities.
The use of sham tax accounts was also a problem, the probe said, pointing out that most of these were used to avoid the tax of small businesses.
A large number of these tax evasions took place in small businesses where the owners had little or no income, according to the report.
A number of smaller businesses were also targeted, such as a bakery in the southern state of Karnataka where “the owners did not even pay the rent and had to make false statements in order to avoid paying the tax”.
The audit also noted that some tax evictions were done with the connivance of local police.
It was not clear if the state government was complicit in these cases.
What is ‘Indian web cracking’ and how does it work?
In a nutshell, it involves cracking the web to reveal the identities of criminal users, the data on which is then passed to the government for prosecution.
A study in December 2016, by Transparency Research, a nonprofit, suggested that web cracking has been a tool of choice for criminals in India, which had a higher rate of internet hacking and hacking attacks.
The study, which used the online tax database called The Indian Tax Database, found that in 2015, the government was able to identify 4,932 criminals, which is an increase from the previous year.
In a 2016 report, a team of experts from the Tax Authority of India (TIA) concluded that the use to crack the internet was one of several tools used by criminals to bypass laws.
The researchers also highlighted the lack of safeguards and accountability in the government’s web cracking strategy.