The official release from the IT department has not named the persons who were raided but said both were in sugar production and the raids were conducted in Gokak, Belagavi and Bengaluru. It was reported by various media organisations on January 19 that the IT department had conducted raids on the houses and offices of small scale industries minister Ramesh Jharkiholi, who represents Gokak in the Karnataka legislative assembly and of Laxmi R Hebbalkar, the state president of Mahila Congress.
On Monday evening, the Income Tax Department issued a press release detailing the search operations. It, however, did not mention the names of the Minister or Ms. Hebbalkar. “Many persons who had large incomes and investments were found to be not filing returns,” it said.
Press note states – “Search action led to gathering of evidence of systematic and organised tax evasion by both groups. Examination of various entry providers, immediate bank enquiries and surveys carried out at cooperative societies confirmed that huge unexplained cash deposits have been made in the bank accounts of family members and associates and in benami names in primary cooperative societies, which were transferred to business entities carrying out sugar manufacturing. It was also seen non-existent persons have been made as shareholders and investors in one of the sugar companies. Evidences of creation of bogus assets and siphoning off money from the company through various concerns engaged in turnkey projects for setting up of sugar factories have also been gathered.
the press note says: “Apart from the above, the search also led to admission of undisclosed income of Rs 162.06 crores. Unexplained cash amounting to Rs 41 lakhs and 12.8 kg of gold and jewellery were also seized during the course of search. Many persons who had large incomes and investments were found to be not filing returns. Investigation is still in progress.”
Mobs gathered at Gokak and Belagavi, and at one place the situation threatened to go out of hand. People dispersed only after I-T officials convinced them the raids were not political, the statement said. Dismissing rumours that the raids were based on a tip-off from Sanathkumar V V, a close associate of BJP MLA Sanjay Patil (Belagavi Rural), the release said the information came from its own intelligence sources. “No informer was in any way involved,’’ the department said.
Surveys confirmed huge cash deposits were made into the accounts of the leaders’ family members and associates, and in ‘benami’ accounts in primary cooperative societies. The money was then transferred to business entities engaged in sugar manufacturing, the tax department said. Non-existent persons were made shareholders and investors in one of the sugar companies, according to an official release. Sources said the officials had found money being siphoned off to companies taking up turnkey projects to set up sugar factories. The books also showed bogus assets.
Source: ET, DH, The Hindu, NDTV, IT Dept