The income tax (I-T) department conducted searches on the office and residential premises of Ahmedabad-based property dealer Mahesh Shah, who disclosed R13,860 crore of unaccounted income under the Income Declaration Scheme (IDS), but failed to make the 45% tax payment due on the disclosed income.
Tax sleuths also reached the premises of his chartered accountant firm Appaji Amin. Shah’s CA, Tehmul Sethna, a partner at Appaji Amin, told the media about the searches carried out on November 29 & 30 and December 1 on Shah’s property, as well as on premises connected with Shah’s friends. According to Sethna, Shah has been untraceable since the searches. Sethna told FE, “Till the last moment, Shah said he wanted to make the payment. He was not well, he had a stent in his heart and also had had a minor paralytic attack.”
According to Sethna, Shah declared R13,860 crore under IDS, which closed on September 30. He said, “Shah was supposed to pay R1,560 crore, which is 25% of the 45% tax on the disclosed amount, as the first installment. Though November 30 was the last date, he failed to deposit the installment with the I-T department. When the department conducted an enquiry, they started doubting Shah’s capacity to pay the installment by the due date. Thus by November 28, the I-T department cancelled his IDS Form-2 and initiated search operations the next day. I gave my full cooperation to them and showed all the papers related to Shah, who is untraceable after the searches.”
Asked about Shah’s property deals, Sethna told FE, “Shah was not involved with any property group, he was working on an individual basis and was involved with buying and selling plots of land. I am unaware of any of his prominent land deals, I was just in charge of drafting any deals he had in mind. He was making plans in anticipation of getting money, but I have no idea as to how he was to get it.”