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Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Premises linked to Ajit Pawar kin searched: Rs 184-crore unaccounted income found in searches at real estate firms, says I-T

Without naming Pawar or his kin, the tax authority said evidence gathered by the department during the raids carried out at about 70 premises across Mumbai, Pune, Baramati, Goa and Jaipur has revealed “several prima-facie unaccounted and benami transactions”.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: October 16, 2021 1:42:42 am
Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar during a press meet. (Express photo by Ashish Kale)

The Income Tax (I-T) Department on Friday said it has unearthed unaccounted income worth Rs 184 crore after its searches on October 7 at premises of two real estate groups in Mumbai linked to the family of Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.

Without naming Pawar or his kin, the tax authority said the evidence gathered by it during the searches carried out at about 70 premises spread across Mumbai, Pune, Baramati, Goa and Jaipur revealed “several prima-facie unaccounted and benami transactions”.

“Incriminating documents evidencing unaccounted income of about Rs 184 crore of the two groups have been found,” said the tax agency in a statement on Friday.

On October 7, the tax agency had searched a firm where Pawar’s son, Parth, is a director; a few firms owned by Pawar’s sisters; two real estate firms linked to Pawar; and premises of directors of four sugar mills across the state reportedly indirectly linked to the Pawar family.

At the time, Pawar had said he had no problem with the searches against him but was upset that his sisters were being involved. “We pay taxes every year. Since I am the finance minister, I am aware of fiscal discipline. All entities linked to me have paid taxes,” he had said.

“I am upset because (premises of) my sisters, who got married 35-40 years ago, have been raided. If they were raided as Ajit Pawar’s relatives, then people must think about it… the way the agencies are being used,” he said, adding that the tax department was in a better position to say if there was a political angle to the searches.

The I-T department has claimed in its statement Friday to have found that the two real estate companies infused unaccounted funds across several companies through “suspicious” transactions with the “involvement of an influential family of Maharashtra”.

“The search action has led to identification of transactions by these business groups with a web of companies which, prima facie, appear to be suspicious. A preliminary analysis of the flow of funds indicates that there has been an introduction of unaccounted funds in the group by way of various dubious methods like introduction of bogus share premium, suspicious unsecured loans, receipt of unsubstantiated advance for certain services, collusive arbitration deals out of non-existent disputes, etc. It has been observed that such suspicious flow of funds has taken place with the involvement of an influential family of Maharashtra,” said the statement.

According to the agency, the unaccounted funds have been used for “acquisition of various assets such as an office building at a prime locality in Mumbai, flat in posh locality in Delhi, resort in Goa, agricultural lands in Maharashtra and investments in sugar mills”.

“The book value of these assets aggregates to about Rs 170 crore,” said the tax authority. Apart from this, the department seized unaccounted cash worth Rs 2.13 crore and jewellery worth Rs 4.32 crore from the two companies during the searches.

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