The Income Tax Department has allegedly detected an undisclosed income of Rs 118 crore after it raided at least 25 premises linked to Tamil Nadu-based evangelist Paul Dhinakaran on tax evasion charges, official sources said on Saturday. The searches were launched on January 20 at 25 properties belonging to his organisation, Jesus Calls ministries, in Chennai and Coimbatore. Dhinakaran heads the Christian missionary that also has international operations. He is also the chancellor of Karunya University (deemed) and a well-known preacher.
"With the conclusion of the operation today (Saturday), the department seized 4.7 kg of gold bullion from the Coimbatore residence of Paul Dhinakaran," tax department sources said. They said the search teams have detected "suppression of income to the tune of Rs 118 crore on issues of donation receipts, foreign investments, inflated expenses among others."
The verification of documents recovered during the searches was in progress, the sources added.
The searches on January 20 began as early as 6 am. Over 200 Income Tax officials were involved in the investigation, which spanned from Dhinakaran’s main office in Adyar to his educational institute in Coimbatore districts. Reports suggested that his accountants were brought to various office premises to help the department with its searches and to provide necessary documents. The Income Tax sleuths were reportedly also looking into the foreign direct investment (FDI) that Dhinakaran’s organisation had received.
Both Jesus Calls Ministries and Karunya University were founded by Paul Dhinakaran’s father DGS Dhinakaran. He passed away in 2008 and the operations were all handed over to his son.
The family has always wielded a lot of influence in the state and has been on good terms with all the ruling parties. When DGS Dhinakaran passed away, then Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and Opposition leader J Jayalalithaa both expressed their condolences.