The government of India informed the Lok Sabha that it has attached or seized criminal proceeds totaling more than Rs 1000 crore relating to cyber and crypto assets scams under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA).
In addition, it stated that between April 2019 and November 2022, such businesses were expected to evade GST to the tune of about Rs 22,936 crore.
The Ministry of Finance responded in writing that the Enforcement Directorate is looking into various examples of cyber and crypto asset thefts in which online gaming and other similar activities were exploited to conduct fraud and then steal the proceeds.
“As of December 6, 2022, more than Rs.1000 crore in illegal gains have been attached, seized, or frozen in various cases in accordance with the PMLA (PMLA). Also, the Special Court, PMLA, has received a total of 10 Prosecution Complaints (PCs) and 2 supplemental PCs “which it said.
It further stated that CBIC formations have begun looking into various gaming enterprises (including Online gaming organisations) in India and abroad for possible Goods and Services Tax (GST) avoidance. It is predicted that between April 2019 and November 2022, these businesses will save paying a total of Rs 22,936 crore in GST.
To quote Pankaj Chaudhary, an undersecretary in the Indian Ministry of Finance: “Assets amounting to Rs 289.28 crore have been confiscated under section 37A of Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999.” In response to a question on whether or not the government plans to outlaw such gambling enterprises, the response was, “Necessary action as per requirements of law is taken against such companies, as noted above.”
When asked if the Income Tax Department has sent out notices to numerous online gambling businesses because they are allegedly not paying their fair share of taxes, the response read: “Since there is no unique identifier for online gaming entities in the Income Tax Return, there is no way to access information about online gaming companies that are evading income tax and have been served with notices by the Income Tax Department. Except as allowed by section 138 of the Income Tax Act, 1961, it is against the law to reveal any information pertaining to an individual taxpayer.”