Chennai, Nov 13 (IANS) The Income Tax Department has unearthed tax evasion of Rs 1,430 crore during its raids/searches spread over five days at the premises of jailed AIADMK leader V.K. Sasikala’s kin and their business associates, an official said on Monday.
“We have found tax evasion of Rs 1,430 crore, as of now. This figure is likely to go up as we have also seized incriminating documents. We have seized Rs 7 crore in cash, and gold jewellery worth around Rs 5 crore,” the senior tax official told IANS on the condition of anonymity.
“A lot of diamonds seized have to be evaluated. We have also frozen 15 bank lockers and several bank accounts,” he added.
The search operations resumed on Monday after it was temporarily called off on Sunday.
He said the department waited for individuals and companies associated with Sasikala to file their tax returns for the last fiscal, adding that searches were carried out to detect tax evasion based on the filings and the data with the Income Tax Department.
The official said that tax demand would be raised after analysing the documents and obtaining clarifications.
The department had summoned Karnataka’s AIADMK leader V. Pugazhendi, whose premises were searched last week.
Pugazhendi told reporters that he had been asked to come again a couple of days later, adding that he was extending cooperation to the tax officials.
Sasikala, currently serving a jail sentence after conviction for corruption, was a confidante of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and lived with her for decades.
The searches were conducted in connection with unexplained routing of cash post-demonetisation through shell companies allegedly connected to Sasikala and her nephew T.T.V. Dinakaran, who heads one of the factions of the ruling AIADMK.
The Income Tax Department will look at the routing of funds within India whereas other agencies will look into the routing of money outside India, the official said.
“We have information about shell companies and the searches were in connection with their operations,” he had said earlier.
On Thursday, a team of around 1,800 IT officials knocked at the doors of 187 premises — residences and offices and farmhouses — to carry out one of the biggest income tax searches on Sasikala’s kin and associates.
The places raided included the residence of Sasikala’s husband M. Natarajan in Thanjavur, Kodanad Tea Estate belonging to Jayalalithaa, Jazz Cinemas, Midas Distilleries, Sharada Paper and Boards, Senthil Group of Companies, Nilgiri Furniture in Coimbatore, Jaya TV, Namadhu MGR and several other premises in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru.
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