The initial assessment by the Income Tax (IT) department on the recently concluded raids on firms linked to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Anil Deshmukh has found alleged tax evasion of Rs.17 crores, the department said in a press release Monday.
Last week, the Maharashtra unit of the department carried out multi-cities searches including in Nagpur, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai against the former Maharashtra home minister.
“Evidence found during the search clearly indicates concealment of income to the extent of about Rs.17 crore. Several bank lockers found during the course of the search operation have been put under prohibitory orders,” the department said in a statement without naming the NCP leader. However, sources told ET, that the assessee under probe in Deshmukh.
Multiple agencies including the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) are probing Deshmukh on charges of corruption and money laundering respectively.
The IT raids came days after the ED filed its prosecution complaint against the two arrested aides of Deshmukh detailing out allegations of laundering to the tune of Rs.4.70 crores allegedly using shell copamines and Delhi-based hawala operators to a family owned trust. The proceeds of crime were used to build personal assets, the ED probe had revealed. The money was alleged bribes paid by bar owners and managers in Mumbai for smooth functioning of the bars in wake of the restrictions imposed due to the outbreak of Covid 19 pandemic.
The IT probe has also found , “…evidence for receipt of bogus donation in the hands of the Trust run by the assesse group through money laundering, using Delhi based companies to the extent of Rs.4.00 crore has been found,” the IT statement further said.
“This clearly substantiates the laundering of the unaccounted income of the assessee routed as donation to the Trust. Further, specific evidences have been unearthed which reveal that three Educational Institutions of the Trust have indulged in inflation of expenses in which salaries paid to the employees were partly collected back in cash. Such evidences were found for several financial years amounting to more than Rs.12 crore,” it added.
The tax department also said that during the search, it was also detected that the Trust, apart from suppression of receipts, has allegedly paid substantial amounts to brokers for arranging admissions. “Such payments, to the tune of about Rs.87 lakh have been paid in cash and are completely unaccounted,” the release read.
The tax sleuths have seized incriminating documents, loose sheets and other digital evidences. “These evidences clearly indicate the involvement of the group in unaccounted financial transactions made outside the regular books of accounts including inflation of expenses, money laundering, bogus donation receipts, unaccounted cash expenses etc,” it added..
Meanwhile, the CBI is probing Deshmukh and others for allegedly attempting to obtain undue advantage for improper and dishonest performance of their public duty for collection of funds to achieve the target of Rs 100 crore per month from various bars, restaurants and other establishments.
The ED’s money laundering investigation is based on the predicate offence registered by the CBI.
Earlier, the ED in a statement had said that it has attached assets worth Rs 4.20 crore – a residential flat valued at Rs. 1.54 crore, located at Worli in Mumbai and 25 land parcels of book value Rs 2.67 crore, located at Dhutum Villages in Uran, Raigarh district of Maharashtra.
According to the agency, these assets are held in the name of Deshmukh’s wife Aarti and company Premier Port Links Private Limited. His son, Salil, was a director in the firm between January 2006 and August 2012.Internet Explorer Channel Network