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By A Newsman

Asansol, 24 November: FOLLOWING a rumour that Income Tax department officials were coming to raid their shops, traders of an entire business town in Burdwan district today downed their shutters and fled the market.

The incident took place at Ukhra under Andal police station, located about 190 km from Kolkata. The businesses in Ukhra are dominated by non-Bengali traders and because of the proximity to the colliery belt, they transact in huge volumes of trade. There are a large number of jewellery shops as well.

Like other days, the traders at Ukhra opened their shops and got into usual business. But it was not very long after that around noon, a news spread like wildfire that IT officials were coming to raid the market in search of unaccounted dealings for which taxes have not been paid.

Following this, one after another traders downed their shutters and left the market in a hurry. Nobody even had the time to verify the news about the probably IT raid from the authorities. But as the dusk fell, it turned out to be a hoax.

“It was purely a rumour to which the businessmen panicked and shut their shops. They were probably scared that IT officials might seek the details of each and every business transactions in the aftermath of demonetisation of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes,” said Naresh Sharma, a member of the local merchant association.

The fake news about the IT raid probably spread via a WhatsApp message, he said.