Action in the wake of Kejriwal’s comments on firm’s corporate governance
Officials of the Income Tax Department on Thursday searched at least 40 premises of the Bangalore-headquartered GMR group and its associates across the country to check books of accounts.
At least 200 officials were involved in the search and seizure operations coordinated by the Bangalore and Hyderabad units of the Directorate of Income Tax Investigations on the GMR group and associate companies in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai, sources in the department told The Hindu.
In Bangalore, sources said at least 10 premises belonging to the group, including its headquarters on Museum Road, were searched by over 100 officials. These search and seizure operations were conducted in accordance with Section 132 of the Income Tax Act, sources said, and added that the operations commenced here early morning. Later in the day, IT officials were seen carrying documents from the headquarters.
The checks were triggered by the statements of anti-corruption activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal on issues of corporate governance in three companies, including GMR, sources familiar with the development said.
A PTI report said the searches were carried out on suspicion of tax evasion, and officials scanned documents and payment details regarding tax deduction at source (TDS).
Meanwhile, a GMR release, acknowledging the income tax search, said: “This morning, the officials from the Income Tax Department came to our offices to check our books. We are extending all assistance to the team. We are confident that the officials will find our corporate practices and books satisfactory.
Confident of vindication
Stating that the GMR group follows highest ethical and legal standards in business with robust institutional measures to monitor as well as implement corporate governance of the highest order, the statement said the company was confident that these on-the-spot checks will vindicate it.
GMR group has interests in airports, energy, highways and urban infrastructure in India, Turkey, Singapore, Indonesia, Maldives, South Africa and Nepal.
It built and operates airports in Delhi and Hyderabad.