Close to 120 teams of the Income Tax Investigation Wing conducted searches at over 70 branches of the retail store chain Saravana stores in Chennai and Coimbatore. The raids that began at 7.30 am on Tuesday morning are still underway.
According to sources in the Income Tax Department, officials were informed of the location of the raid on Tuesday morning and around 800 officials are involved. While textile showrooms are the focus in the Saravana stores raid, officials are also searching properties associated to the Lotus Group, which is into realty business. The residence of Yogarathinam Pondurai, the son of the founder of Saravana stores, is also being searched. He reportedly has interests in realty and other businesses.
"This search is based on information on tax evasion. The scope of the search may increase as we go through the day," an IT official told TNM.
On January 3, the Income Tax Department conducted searches at four popular restaurant chains in Chennai and suburban areas. This included restaurants and corporate offices of Saravana Bhavan, Grand Sweets and Snacks, Anjappar and Hot Breads. The searches were conducted, according to sources, after the investigators secured evidence of alleged tax evasion by the restaurants.
This is a developing story.