The income tax (I-T) department said on Sunday it conducted search-and-seizure operations on a ‘Pune and Thane-based’ unicorn start-up group, which was in the wholesale and retail business of construction materials. The group has a pan-India presence with an annual turnover exceeding Rs 6,000 crore, it said.
According to an I-T department release that did not name the firm, the operations were carried out on March 9. A total of 23 premises were covered in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in the search operation.
“A large number of incriminating evidences in the form of hard copy documents and digital data have been found and seized during the search operations. These evidences revealed that the group has booked bogus purchases, made huge unaccounted cash expenditure and obtained accommodation entries, aggregating to the tune of over Rs 400 crore,” the release said.
The company had received foreign funding through the Mauritius route, by issuing shares at exorbitantly high premium, the I-T department said. The search operation led to unearthing of a complex hawala network of some Mumbai and Thane-based shell companies, which existed on paper, and were created only for the purpose of providing accommodation entries.
The I-T department’s preliminary analysis has revealed that the total quantum of accommodation entries provided by these shell entities exceeds Rs 1,500 crore. Following the search operations, the company directors disclosed additional income of more than Rs 224 crore in various assessment years, and consequently offered to pay their due tax liability.
Further investigations are under progress, the I-T department release said.