INDIA.Mumbai: The income tax (I-T) department last week carried out searches at 29 premises linked to a Mumbai-based builder, few real estate groups, and some mobile accessories dealers and detected unaccounted cash worth Rs.5.89 crore and undisclosed income of around Rs.270 crore.
I-T officials said that simultaneous searches were carried out on March 17 at the premises of the builder, a developer group, and at the places of mobiles accessories trade.
A commercial mall, exclusively set up for mobile accessories business located at Grant Road East in South Mumbai was the focal point of raids, during which large-scale irregularities conducted at the places of mobiles accessories trade also came to the fore.
The commercial mall with 950 units exclusively for mobile accessories business has been constructed by a housing and infrastructure limited company located near Agripada police station in South Mumbai. Of these, about 905 have been sold since 2017, IT officials stated.
The mall has three basement floors, meant for parking, even for the visitors. The mall is only for mobile shop owners and allied industries. If anyone in the future wants to run another business other than this, he/she would require the consent of 90 percent of the members of the Mumbai Mobile Accessories Association.
“Evidence stored in a pen drive seized during the operation revealed that the builder group took an amount of Rs.150 crore as on-money receipts over and above the agreement value and money so collected was not accounted for in the books of accounts on sale of such units. Further, similar evidence amounting to Rs.70 crore was found in the pen drive about a residential-cum-commercial project. Cash amounting to Rs.5.50 crore was seized from various premises of this group. The receipts of on-money for sale of shops/flats by the builder in various projects recorded in digital form were also seized,” Surabhi Ahluwalia, Commissioner of I-T department and official spokesperson for Central Board of Direct Tax (CBDT) stated.
Payment thru Hawala by mobile accessories dealers
Raids at mobile accessories dealers led to the seizure of incriminating evidence about out-of-books sales. “The group imported goods from China and sold them to various parties all over India. The imports were under-invoiced and payments were made through hawala channels. Thirteen secret godowns containing unaccounted stock were discovered. We are taking an inventory and valuation is under progress”, Ahluwalia stated.
The investigation by I-T officials led to the recovery of evidence of unaccounted investments in properties by suspect dealers amounting to Rs.40.5 crore of which Rs.21 crore was against the units at the said mall. Four undisclosed bank accounts in the names of employees were also detected, which were used to collect sale proceeds from retail vendors of the group. The deposits in the bank accounts amounted to Rs.80 crore.
Transactions with Chinese counterparts through We-Chat app
The tax agency said the operation revealed the entire sector of trading in mobile accessories was largely unaccounted for. The main components were imported from China through Mumbai and Chennai ports. Searches revealed that dealers were undervaluing sales and purchases in a major way. Using forensics, IT officials found that the transactions with Chinese counterparts were taking place through the We-Chat app, Probe to extract information regarding the quantum and cost of Chinese imports is underway.