Tax sleuths raid eight premises in Srinagar, one each in Delhi and Bengaluru; recover tax evasion documents
I’ll cooperate in investigation: Imran
The Income Tax Department Tuesday conducted searches at 10 premises in Kashmir Valley and others on a business group promoted by a senior Srinagar municipal corporation functionary, days after the state anti-corruption bureau acted against J&K Bank on charges of alleged irregularities.
Tax sleuths raided eight premises in Srinagar and one each in Delhi and Bengaluru of the Kehwah group, promoted by deputy mayor of the corporation Sheikh Imran.
While the CBDT did not name the group in a statement issued late evening in Delhi, it said that the department had "struck again in the J&K region".
It said that the group searched by it is engaged in the business of transportation, manufacturing of silk yarn, hospitality, retail trading of Kashmir arts and crafts.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is the administrative authority for the I-T Department.
The action is linked to the recently-unearthed alleged irregularities in J&K Bank's affairs and the raids conducted by the state anti-corruption bureau (ACB), official sources told PTI.
"None of the members of the group is regular in filing their I-T returns. As a one time settlement, the group has got their loans of Rs 170 crore with J&K Bank restructured for a sum of Rs 77 crore, out of which, payment of only Rs 50.34 crore to the J&K Bank has been made so far and balance of Rs 27.66 crore is yet to be paid," CBDT spokesperson Surabhi Ahluwalia said in a statement.
During the searches, the statement said, evidence has been detected "indicating that the one-time settlement of the loan from J&K Bank has been done through the active connivance of a senior J&K Bank officer who was receiving several out of turn promotions".
"Furthermore, evidence has also been unearthed indicating that the repayment of Rs 50.34 crore pertaining to the said loan has been greenfielded by the J&K Bank by granting loan of similar amount to an associate who has confessed to his role in layering the entire transaction," the spokesperson said.
In the Valley, the searches were conducted in the Bohri Kadal and Nowgam area of downtown Srinagar and six other nearby locations, the sources said.
The CBDT said the action yielded results leading to recovery of "incriminating evidence" like documents of sale of undisclosed property amounting to Rs 22 crore.
It said papers were also recovered relating to agreement to sell transport business for Rs 9.10 crore, undisclosed profit of Rs 15-20 crore on account of sale of cold storage plant at Lassipora in Pulwama district.
"The cost of this project (in Lassipora) was found to have been inflated to Rs 47 crore instead of the actual cost of Rs 17 crore for claiming more subsidy from the government by raising inflated and bogus bills. The loan for this project was taken from J&K Bank," the spokesperson said.
Undisclosed properties at Sonamarg (valued Rs 2.68 crore), Pahalgam (Rs 3.55 crore) and Bengaluru (Rs 1 crore) have also been found along with a shop in partnership in Delhi which was purchased for Rs 1.02 crore, it said.
The sources said that the Kehwah group, with Imran as its chairman, is also facing default proceedings after 23 of its accounts with the J&K Bank were declared non-performing assets for dues of over about Rs 120 crore.
The action comes in the backdrop of ACB raids against the bank and the removal of its chairman Parvez Ahmed after charges of his alleged involvement in corruption, nepotism and favouritism were reported.
The CBDT said its teams found digital evidence, analysis of which is in progress.
Reacting to the raids, Deputy Mayor Sheikh Imran said he would cooperate with the IT department in its investigation.
"I am fully supportive of all investigations to ensure transparency and adherence to income tax laws. I will extend my full cooperation to the Income Taxt Department. I’m a law abiding businessman and will continue to ensure the laws are upheld," Imran said.