The Income Tax department is investigating a clothing company owned by a top RSS leader in Delhi for alleged cash deposits of Rs 17 crore in scrapped notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 after the demonetisation policy was announced on November 8, 2016, sources told The Indian Express. The managing director of the firm being investigated, Ahujasons Shawlwale Private Ltd, is Kulbhushan Ahuja, the Delhi Prant Sanghchalak or Delhi state head of the RSS. According to company records, the firm has three other directors: Ahuja’s sons Bhuvan and Karan, and daughter-in-law Nidhi.
Late last month, the firm allegedly surrendered Rs 6 crore of these deposits under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY), a voluntary disclosure scheme launched last December for those with unexplained cash deposits following demonetisation, said sources.
Ahujasons Shawlwale Private Ltd, a leading name in Pashmina shawls, has showrooms at Karol Bagh, Khan Market and South Extension in the capital. Hailing from a family of RSS workers, Ahuja joined the Sangh early in his childhood, said sources in the organisation.
When contacted, Ahuja refused to comment on the ongoing I-T probe. He did not respond, either, to a questionnaire sent by The Indian Express on the tax probe. I-T officials refused to comment on this case.
Sources said that officials conducted an extensive search operation under Section 132 of the I-T Act at the residence and showrooms of Ahuja in Delhi on February 22, based on inputs from an internal wing of the tax department, which generates computerised data about suspicious deposits in bank accounts and hands it over to field officers.
Section 132 authorises an officer to “enter and search” any premises when he, “in consequence of information in his possession, has reason to believe” that “any person is in possession of any money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing”…”which has not been and would not be disclosed”.
According to sources, tax officials found that the company had allegedly “forged back-dated bills to create bogus sales” and justify the cash deposits. The department also seized cash in new currency during the search and later recorded statements of the company’s top management, said sources.
“The department is yet to examine the contents of various lockers, some of which are still sealed,” said sources. Last Friday, I-T officials examined some of the company’s lockers at the Karol Bagh branch of Axis Bank.
Following the searches and investigation, company sources said, the company agreed to surrender a part of the Rs 17 crore — Rs 6 crore — under PMGKY.
Under the scheme, an individual who declares undisclosed income has to pay 30 per cent of the amount as tax, a cess of 33 per cent on the tax paid and 10 per cent penalty, which adds up to around 50 per cent of the income. Besides, 25 per cent of the income is deposited under the scheme with a lock-in period of four years at zero interest rate.