I-T dept raids Pune-based unicorn for alleged tax fraud, unearths hawala network

New Delhi, March 20 : Swooping down on a Pune-based corn engaged in the business of wholesale and retail of construction material, the Income-Tax (I-T) department has claimed that the start-up booked bogus purchases, made huge unaccounted cash expenses and obtained accommodation entries to the tune of over Rs 400 crore. “So far, unaccounted cash of Rs 1 crore and jewellery of the value of Rs 22 lakh have been seized. Further investigations are under progress,” the I-T department said in a statement on Sunday. The search and seizure operations on the company had been carried out on March 9 and covered a total of 23 premises in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. As per the department, the search action revealed that the group had obtained huge foreign funding via the Mauritius route, by issuing shares at exorbitantly high premium. During the search operation, the press released said, a complex hawala network of some Mumbai and Thane based shell companies was also unearthed. “These shell companies exist on paper, and were created only for the purpose of providing accommodation entries. Preliminary analysis has revealed that the total quantum of accommodation entries provided by these shell entities exceeds Rs 1,500 crore,” the I-T department said. It stated that a large number of incriminating evidences in the form of hard copy documents and digital data have been found and seized during the search operations. The department further said that the evidences revealed that the group has booked bogus purchases, made huge unaccounted cash expenditure and obtained accommodation entries, aggregating to the tune of over Rs 400 crore. “These evidences were confronted to the Directors of the group, who admitted under oath this modus operandi, disclosed additional income of more than Rs 224 crore in various assessment years, and consequently offered to pay their due tax liability,” the tax department said. NK

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