Employees of the Joyalukkas jewellery chain were in for surprise on Wednesday morning when they arrived at their stores across India and found sleuths of the Income Tax department at the doorstep. Staff were prevented them from entering their workplace.
In a coordinated raid across the two states, I-T sleuths are reported to be investigating the Thrissur-based jewellery chain over alleged tax evasion.
Sources in the I-T department say that coordinated raids are being carried out in 133 locations across India including Karnataka, Kerala, Pune and Kolkata.
The shops were forced shut, and employees were not allowed inside.
An 8-member team is said to be conducting the raids.
An I-T official told TNM that the reason for the raids was owing to suppression of sales and large scale cash deposits.
In January last year, weeks after demonetisation, Joyalukkas was in trouble after it was found that more than 5.7 tonnes of gold jewellery, worth over Rs 1,500 crore, was sold by the chain between April and November 2016. The sales were accounted for and reflected in its account books, but the company was charged with tax evasion for not paying the mandatory 1% central excise duty applicable since April 1, 2016. It was issued a notice for evading central excise duty to the tune of Rs 16 crore, a senior DGCEI official confirmed to Times of India.