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Mumbai: Land deal between politician, cable operator under I-T dept radar

Mumbai: Land deal between politician, cable operator under I-T dept radar

The department conducted searches on March 8 at 26 premises in Pune, Sangli and Ratnagiri against the cable operator, and a state government employee and the businesses related to him, it said.

(representational image) (representational image)

The Income Tax department is probing a land deal between a ''prominent politician'' of Maharashtra and a Mumbai-based cable operator as part of a tax evasion investigation against them and others, the CBDT said on Thursday.

The department conducted searches on March 8 at 26 premises in Pune, Sangli and Ratnagiri against the cable operator, and a state government employee and the businesses related to him, it said. In total, Rs 66 lakh cash was seized during the operation, the policy-making body for the Income Tax department said.

A statement issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said that during the search, it was found that a parcel of land at Dapoli was purchased by a prominent politician of Maharashtra in 2017 for a consideration of Rs 1 crore but it was registered in 2019.

''This land was subsequently sold to one of the persons covered in the search action in 2020 for a consideration of Rs 1.10 crore. In between, a resort was built on the same land from 2017 to 2020,'' it said.

''By the time the parcel of land was registered in the name of the said politician, substantial construction of the resort was completed,'' the statement said.

The statement did not identify the names of those searched or being investigated in this case.

It said the resort was ''almost complete'' when it was sold by the politician to the cable operator in 2020.

''It transpires that the relevant facts about the construction of the resort were not intimated to registration authorities and accordingly, the stamp duty was paid only for the registration of the land on both the occasions i.e. in 2019 and in 2020,'' according to the statement.

''Evidence found during the search has revealed that the construction of the resort started in 2017 and more than Rs 6 crore was spent in cash on construction of the resort,'' it said.

Cost of construction of the same has not been accounted for either by the person searched or the politician in their books of account, the CBDT claimed.

On the raids conducted against the state government official, the statement said that the official, his family members and relatives have ''amassed huge wealth'' in the form of properties at prime localities at Pune, Sangli and Baramati, over a period of 10 years.

''The family owns one bungalow and one farmhouse in Pune, one lavish farmhouse in Tasgaon, two bungalows in Sangli, two commercial complexes having Tanishq and Carat lane showrooms, five flats in different locations of Pune, one flat in Navi Mumbai, vacant plots in Sangli, Baramati, Pune and more than 100 acres of agricultural land acquired during the past seven years,'' it said.

The CBDT said examination of sources of acquisition of properties and the amounts spent on the lavish interiors of shops and bungalows is under progress.

''The family owns many businesses including showrooms of electronic products, Tanishq showrooms, civil construction business, real estate and pipe manufacturing business,'' it said.

''It is found that the construction business, being run by the relatives of the employee, received many contracts from the state government,'' the statement said.

The searches have ''unearthed evidence of inflation of contract expenses through bogus purchase and bogus sub-contracts aggregating to Rs 27 crore, it said.

The statement added that ''evidence'' regarding unaccounted cash receipt of Rs 2 crore in sale of land at Baramati has also been detected by the department.

Published on: Mar 17, 2022, 9:58 PM IST
Posted by: Aparna Banerjea, Mar 17, 2022, 9:54 PM IST