I-T Dept detects over Rs 700 cr tax evasion after raids against Chennai’s Chettinad Group

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The Income Tax Department has detected tax evasion of more than Rs 700 crore after it recently raided multiple locations of Chennai-based Chettinad Group, the CBDT and official sources said on Tuesday. “The highlight of the search includes seizure of unaccounted cash of Rs 23 crore from various locations,” the CBDT said in a statement.

“As of now, the department has succeeded in detecting evasion of income of over Rs 700 crore,” it said. The statement claimed that tax sleuths also detected documents related to possession of “foreign assets to the extent of Rs 110 crore in the form of fixed deposits, which were not disclosed in the return (income tax return) and will attract action under the Black Money Act”.

The taxman had raided 60 premises of the Tamil Nadu-based group in Chennai, Trichy (Tiruchirappalli), various locations in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Mumbai on December 9.

While the CBDT said its action and further detections were made against a “leading business group operating from Chennai, based on intelligence input about tax evasion”, the official sources identified it as the about 100-years-old Chettinad Group.

The group is involved in business activities like cement manufacturing, logistics, construction, among others, the CBDT said. “Inflation of expenditure to take out cash and also to reduce profits, receipts not accounted fully, bogus claim of depreciation amounting to Rs 435 crore were also identified.

“There are indications of capitation fee receipts for medical admissions to post-graduate programmes,” the statement alleged. The Central Board of Direct Taxes is the administrative authority for the I-T department. The statement added that “details of the actual financial transaction between the searched group and another group for the sale of three infrastructure facilities at various ports were found”.

“Complex financial arrangements creating bogus liabilities from their own concerns were also seen to be made, ostensibly, to reduce the capital gains arising out of this transfer,” it said. It added that capital gains amounting to about Rs 280 crore have been arrived at.

“Similarly, huge capital introduction through a web of bogus intercorporate transactions within the group is also under the scanner,” the statement said. A large number of lockers belonging to the group have been identified, which will be operated in due course, even as the search is temporarily concluded and investigations are still in progress, it said.

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