The Income Tax Department has filed a complaint of cheating against a Surat BJP leader, saying he faked circulation numbers for his two dailies to earn advertisement revenue of around Rs 2.70 crore from government agencies and ad firms.
The Investigation Wing of the I-T Department had recently carried out searches at the home and business premises of Surat city BJP vice-president P V S Sarma, who is himself a former I-T officer.
Several “incriminating documents” were found in the searches, which allegedly revealed evidence of fraud by Sarma and his aides using forged documents of fake firms, showing large circulations for the English and Gujarati newspapers, which were used to get the ads.
Pamaiya K D, deputy director of the Investigation Wing of the Surat I-T Department, filed the complaint against Sarma, his business partner Sitaram Adukiya, and others with the police on Saturday night. A case has been lodged.
In the complaint, Pamaiya alleged that on examining the documents seized from the premises of Sarma and Adukiya, it was found that the accused ran the Satyam Times daily in Gujarati and English. Between 2008-09 and October 21, 2010, they purchased raw materials used for printing from Mahesh Trading Company and a few other firms for Rs 3.98 crore. But it was found that Mahesh Trading Company did not exist, and the premises were owned by Adukiya.
On the printing record register, Sarma and Adukiya had allegedly shown the sales circulation of the Gujarati newspaper at 23,500 copies, and that of the English newspaper at 6,000 copies. They had allegedly fabricated the figures of sales, and made fake papers of sales of raw materials from non-existent firms, showing it as genuine firms on the company ledger account books.
On checking the circulations, the officials had found that only 600 copies of the Gujarati newspaper and 290 of the English newspaper had been printed. Through the fake documents, the firm had allegedly availed of DAVP ads from the Centre to the tune of Rs 70 lakh and from other ads firms of Rs 2 crore.
Police said they are investigating the case.
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