Kolkata/New Delhi: The Income Tax department on Thursday seized over Rs 20 crore cash, stashed in multiple gunny bags and almirahs, as part of a special operation against suspected lottery scamsters in Kolkata and adjoining areas.
The operation was initiated in the West Bengal capital and adjoining areas in early hours based on inputs provided by central security agencies about an alleged fake lottery racket which has its tentacles spread upto Tamil Nadu.
Official sources said the search teams, led by the sleuths of Kolkata I-T investigations wing, recovered over Rs 20 crore cash from 16 gunny bags, 27 travel bags and two almirahs from atleast two locations in Kolkata.
They said the teams, comprising about 100 members, had to deploy ten note counting machines to find the exact value of the stash recovered from two firms identified as G Systems and F P Enterprises.
"Few executives and people of these firms are being questioned. It is suspected that these firms were involved in a fake lottery racket. Further investigations are on," they said.
The firms could not be reached for a comment.
Sources said the entire racket could be worth about Rs 1,000 crore and few lottery kingpins are under the scanner of the probe agencies.
"The agencies are probing if this money was being used to carry out hawala transactions and further being ploughed into money laundering activities," they said.
They said few locations in Siliguri are also being searched by tax sleuths in this connection even as the teams have recovered and seized a number of documents including bank accounts and business receipts.