Updated: October 8, 2021 11:02:32 am
The Income Tax (I-T) department on Thursday said it has busted a syndicate of “businessmen/ middlemen and people holding public offices” in Maharashtra and unearthed unaccounted transactions of Rs 1,050 crore. It indicated that these middlemen run real estate and construction businesses in the city.
Sources said the findings of the tax department pertain to builders and some other people allegedly linked to a senior Congress leader. The tax agency said it has been working on the case for over six months.
“In all, 25 residential and 15 office premises were covered under the search, while four offices were covered under the survey. Some suites in Oberoi Hotel in Mumbai, permanently rented by two of the middlemen and used for meeting their clients, were also subjected to search. The syndicate, consisting of businessmen/ middlemen/ associates and persons holding public offices, used various code names in their records and in one case had back-dated records by 10 years. The total transactions detected during this search are to the tune of Rs 1,050 crore,” it said.
The tax department has alleged that the middlemen provided “end-to-end services to corporates and entrepreneurs, from land allotment to obtaining all governmental clearances”. The I-T teams were able to recover critical digital evidence and also located a secret hideout from where incriminating evidence was recovered, it said.
The agency said “angadiyas” (couriers) were used to transfer cash, and about Rs 1.50 crore was seized from one of them. “The documents recovered include a summary of overall cash generated and disbursed, giving the particulars of the amounts received and receivable, each being more than Rs 200 crore,” it said.
The I-T department has alleged that the unaccounted money was generated through bribes paid by bureaucrats for getting key postings and cash paid by contractors for getting payments released from the state government. “Major amount of cash collected had been distributed to various persons, including someone who is mentioned under a code name. Furthermore, one of the businessmen/ middlemen had also amassed huge unaccounted income by purchasing lands from farmers and transferring the same to government undertakings/ big corporates. Many senior bureaucrats/ their relatives and other prominent people have been found to have invested in these schemes,” it said.
The tax agency said it has unearthed date-wise transactions for cash deposits of around Rs 27 crore and cash payments of around Rs 40 crore. It has found that cash payments of Rs 23 crore were made to several people named in code words.
“.. in a WhatsApp chat, particulars of cash transactions have been found showing receipts of cash of around Rs 16 crore and outflow of around Rs 12 crore,” it said. “Voluminous digital data has been recovered and seized from mobile phones, pen-drives, hard drives, iCloud, e-mails etc. which is being examined and analysed. So far, cash of more than Rs 4.6 crore and jewellery valued at Rs 3.42 crore have been seized. Four lockers found during the search operation have been put under restraint orders,” it said.
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