The Income Tax department has detected an alleged evasion of income of over Rs 700 crore after it searched the premises of a leading business group. The search was conducted across 60 locations in Chennai, Trichy, Coimbatore, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Mumbai on December 9. According to a statement issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on Tuesday, the business group is engaged in several activities including cement manufacturing, logistics and construction.
The search operations, reportedly on the Chettinad group of companies, resulted in CBDT officials seizing unaccounted cash of Rs 23 crore and undisclosed details of foreign assets (in the form of fixed deposits) amounting to Rs 110 crore. The expenditure made by the group’s businesses was also allegedly found to be overstated by Rs 435 crore, in an attempt to reduce profits and thereby evade taxes on profits. The searches were conducted in the business and residential premises of the key people in the companies under the group’s name. Over 400 CBDT officials were deputed for the coordinated search operation.
“During the search, details of actual financial transactions between the searched group and another group for the sale of three infrastructure facilities at various ports were found. Complex financial arrangements creating bogus liabilities from their own concerns were also seen to be made, ostensibly to reduce the capital gains arising out of this transfer,” the statement said. It added that these capital gains have been calculated to be Rs 280 crore.
The statement said that officers also identified several lockers belonging to the business group and a huge capital infusion through a web of intra-group company transactions is also being probed. The department is also investigating possibilities of the group having taken capitation fees for providing admissions to the postgraduate medical programmes in its college. The CBDT has temporarily concluded the search and is currently investigating the results.