The Income Tax department has seized cash and jewellery worth about Rs 1.5 crore after it raided an Ahmedabad-based group engaged in the business of real estate, construction and land trading, the CBDT said on Friday. The searches were conducted on Thursday at 27 residential and business premises of the group and their associates.
"Unexplained cash of around Rs 69 lakh and jewellery of around Rs 82 lakh have been seized till now. Besides, 18 bank lockers have been placed under restraint," the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said in a statement. A large number of incriminating documents and digital data in mobile phones, pen drives and computers have also been seized, it said.
The CBDT, the administrative authority for the I-T department, did not identify the business group. "The group had around 96 companies at a few common addresses, which were being used for routing money and for land holding.
"Most of the companies were found to have no real business and very few returns of income have been filed. Many have not filed returns with ROC (registrar of companies)," it said. Some directors of these concerns, other than the main family members, have accepted to be dummy directors with mere signing roles, it added.
The CBDT said tax sleuths have detected "innovative methods of tax evasion by increasing the cost of properties through intra-group transactions, on which tax is not paid." "Substantial evidences of transactions outside the regular books of accounts, unaccounted cash expenses, and cash advances received and interest paid in cash have been found. Evidences of on-money transactions and corresponding unaccounted investments of about Rs 100 crore in real estate projects-flats, shops and land deals have also been found," it claimed.
The statement said tax officials have seized a large number of documents relating to properties, held in the names of several cooperative societies, from a secret location. "The real owners of these land holdings are being investigated and applicability of the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988 is also being examined.
"Registered and notarised sale-purchase agreements of agricultural lands with substantial cash component have also been found," it said. Evidences pertaining to unaccounted property transactions of about Rs 150 crore have been found at a location, the CBDT added.