Income Tax officials on Tuesday carried out searches on the various premises of the SRM group of institutions, including its news channel, across the State to check for alleged tax evasion.
Talking to The Hindu, IT officials said an inquiry was conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation in March 2013 following a complaint from the father of a student stating that he paid Rs.30 lakh as capitation fee for MBBS admission, while the management denied it. Later, SRM University Chancellor and Founder, T. R. Pachamuthu and his son Ravi Pachamuthu obtained anticipatory bail from Madras High Court. “The other version was that the management collected huge capitation fee and gave receipt only for half the amount. Every year, the management collected close to Rs.1,000 crore.
This acted as a trigger to look into the tax evasion angle. We searched all those premises that were possessing books of accounts,” the official said.
According to the official sources, about 300 IT officials began the search operations in the city at 37 places belonging to Mr. Pachamuthu, his son, his daughter and relatives, and seven other places across the State. The search commenced after 7 a.m. and was on till late evening and it might take a couple of days to ascertain if there was tax evasion and, if so, the exact quantum involved.
The SRM group has its presence in medical, dental, electronics, hospitality, transportation, engineering construction, publications, media and entertainment sectors and educational institutions. Mr. Pachamuthu also floated a political party in April 2010, the ‘India Jananayaga Katchi’.
The net worth of the company is valued at several crores of rupees. The group’s TV channel ‘Puthiya Thalaimurai’ was the first to report the IT search on the group’s premises.
Tiruchi Staff Reporter Writes:
In Tiurchi, Income Tax officials conducted simultaneous searches at a hotel, a medical college and an engineering college belonging to the SRM Group.
The marathon operation which started early in the day went on till evening.