The investigation wing of the Income Tax Department on Thursday, 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.
According to reports, the raids were conducted in 32 buildings from 8 am on Thursday morning. Over 100 officers were involved in the operation. IT sources tell TNM that there were discrepancies in the incomes submitted by these restaurant chains and the tax that they have paid, which led to the raids. The searches, says an officer, is likely to continue for at least two days.
â€œWe have been watching these chains of restaurants for the past few months. We did a survey based on the returns they filed with the Income Tax Department. We found that their income did not match with the tax paid and wanted to check their accounts and business. We started searches on 32 premises this morning," said a senior investigation wing official to Times of India.
Details regarding the documents seized are yet to declared by the IT officials but raids are expected to continue tomorrow as well.
The Hotel Saravana Bhavan chain of restaurants is owned by P Rajagopal and started in 1981. The Anjappar Chettinad Restaurant chain is managed by brothers Kandasamy, Rangasamy and Marudu Pandian currently. It was opened in 1964 and operates in over 30 locations in Chennai. Grand Sweets which was started by G Natarajan close to 40 years ago is now owned by his daughters G Ranganayaki and P Rajeswari. Their children have split the business and have converted into two different chains. Hot Breads is owned by businessman M Mahadevan who has partnered with both Saravana Bhavan and Anjappar in the past to open more branches of the chain.