September 9, 2021 4:31:50 am
In a major operation by a team of 125 income-tax (I-T) officials, two real estate firms of Ahmedabad-based Sambhaav Group, which is a leading media house, along with two of their associated real estate brokers were searched on Wednesday for possible tax evasion, I-T officials told mediapersons on Wednesday. The team of officials started the search operation at 6 am on around 15-20 premises belonging to Sambhaav Group and two brokers — Yogesh Pujara and Dipak Thakkar, official sources in the I-T department said. Among the premises searched in Ahmedabad were the residences and offices of owners of Sambhaav Group, which includes the offices of Nila Infrastructures Limited and Nila Spaces Limited, which are two firms listed on the stock exchanges.
“They are into real estate business. We usually search for cash, lockers and documents. It could be anywhere. We do not conduct searches overnight. We follow a case thoroughly. We get information, evidences and our people also go as decoy customers to ascertain the amount of cash transactions happening,” an official said adding that “companies usually evade tax on the transactions they conduct in cash”.
As per the website, the parent group Sambhaav Media Ltd runs television channels VTV News, VTV Gujarati, Abhiyaan magazine, Sambhav Metro, a tabloid, Top FM and Wise TV, a transit television channel installed in Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation Buses and 50 depots. Sambhaav Media Ltd through a wholly owned subsdiary Ved Technoserve India Pvt Ltd has entered into new foray of electric smart power fence. M/s Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) has assigned a pilot project for such a fence at Pathankot airbase.
Nila Infrastructures has built 91 bus stations in BRTS project, constructed houses under Mukhamantri Aawas Yojana, and has been involved in developing several real estate projects in Ahmedabad, Barmer, Udaipur, Bhilwara,Jodhpur, Becharaji, Modasa, Surat and Vadodara.
Asked if the I-T department was targeting media firms for their searches, the official said, “Our searches were related to the real-estate business.” The I-T officials were assisted by 70 police personnel in during the searches. The searches are continuing and the quantum of unaccounted transactions will be known probably within a couple of days. “We do not know what role the two brokers have, but they were associated with the Group,” the official added. No one from the group could be contacted for comment.
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