In one of the biggest seizures by the Income Tax (IT) department, tax sleuths have seized Rs 163-crore cash and about 101-kg bullion, following raids at multiple premises of a road construction firm in Tamil Nadu. The firm has admitted to tax evasion and has owned up the money and bullion as its own and come forward to pay tax, penalty and the return, tax department sources told PTI in Chennai. The searches that began yesterday at the premises of Ms SPK and Company, a partnership firm engaged in roads and highways construction on contract from the government is drawing to a close at all the 20 plus locations in Tamil Nadu.
“About Rs 163 crore cash, which is suspected to be unaccounted, and bullion and gold jewellery weighing about 100 kg have been seized so far. The raids are still going on,” a senior official of the IT department said. Today, an additional amount of Rs four crore cash was seized and some more jewellery was being tallied with records.
If necessary, the jewellery might be seized as well, sources added. The firm evaded tax by adopting measures like inflating expenses on awarding sub-contracts, labour work and on procuring bitumen and conversely projecting scaled down profits. In a single BMW car alone Rs 36 crore was found stashed away and in another luxury car, about Rs 25 crore.
The searches coincided with the firm’s mobilisation of cash from different points to send it to a chosen premises in a very posh neighbourhood of Chennai. The assessee had kept only Rs 24 lakh cash in his house and had parked the remaining cash and gold in 10 different places of his employees and associates. While the main firm is engaged in civil construction work,mainly in highways and road bridges, their sister companies are into businesses like hotels and blue metal.
Apart from unaccounted assets, several incriminating documents in the form of loose sheets, diaries, registers and hard discs were also seized. Officials said the seizure was probably the biggest so far in raids anywhere in the country. The department had seized over Rs 110-crore cash following raids at the premises of a mining baron in Chennai post demonetisation in 2016.
The Chennai investigation wing of the IT department is conducting the operation. The raids were carried out after the department found “evidence of suspected tax evasion by the firm and its associates.” A total of 22 premises — 17 in Chennai, four in Aruppukottai (Virudhunagar district) and one in Katpadi (Vellore) — were being searched, the officials said.