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IT raids in real estate firms in Ahmedabad

by BQ News Bureau
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Income Tax Department conducted a search and seizure action based on credible intelligence on Friday at Ahmedabad in real estate, construction and land trading business companies. The search was conducted on 27 premises, which included offices and residences of some associates also.

Unexplained cash of around Rs. 69 lakh and jewellery of around Rs. 82 lakh have been seized so far. Besides, 18 bank lockers have been placed under restraint. A large number of incriminating documents and digital data in mobile phones, pen-drives and computers have also been seized. The group had around 96 companies at a few common addresses, which were being used for routing money and for landholding. Most of the companies were found to have no real business and very few returns of income had been filed. Some directors of these concerns, other than main family members, had accepted to be dummy directors with mere signing roles, according to an official statement.

Innovative methods of tax evasion by increasing the cost of properties through intra-group transactions, on which tax is not paid, have been noticed. Substantial evidence of transactions outside the regular books of accounts, unaccounted cash expenses, and cash advances received and interest paid in cash have been found. Evidence of on-money transactions and corresponding unaccounted investments of about Rs.100 crore in real estate projects-flats, shops and land deals have been found.

A large number of documents relating to properties, held in the names of several cooperative societies, have been found from a secret location. The real owners of these landholdings are being investigated and applicability of the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988 is also being examined. Registered and notarized sale-purchase agreements of agricultural lands with substantial cash component have also been found. At one of the premises, evidence pertaining to unaccounted property transactions up to Rs. 150 crore have been found, according to IT Department officials.

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