DesignBoxed accused of expenditure inflation and more

DesignBoxed, a political campaign management firm working with the Congress that was recently searched by Income Tax sleuths, has been found to be allegedly indulging in inflation of expenditure, under-reporting of revenue, and unaccounted-for cash payments.

A Finance Ministry release — without identifying the company — on Sunday said that a group engaged in digital marketing and campaign management was found to have inflated expenditure and under-reported revenue. The group has also allegedly been found to have indulged in unaccounted-for cash payments and booking personal expenses of the directors as business expenses in the account books. “Luxurious vehicles used by the directors and their family members are found to have been purchased in the name of employees and the entry provider,” the release stated. Income Tax officials had searched the offices of DesignBoxed on seven premises in Bengaluru, Surat, Chandigarh, and Mohali on October 12.

The release stated that incriminating evidence found revealed that the group has been engaged in obtaining accommodation entries using an entry operator. “The entry operator has admitted to have facilitated transfer of cash and unaccounted-for income of the group through hawala operators.”

However, the MD of DesignBoxed, Naresh Arora, in a note, alleged that the searches were “obviously political” and “part of the process of stifling the opposition through state power”. He also claimed that no unaccounted-for valuables of any kind had been found and the searches were meant to target him and his colleagues because they had been working for the opposition, mainly the Congress. He said the search was an outright “abuse of tax agencies” for political gain.

Bogus bills

Another group, engaged in solid waste management catering to Indian municipalities, which was also searched on October 12 has been found to have indulged in booking bogus bills for expenses and sub-contracts. A preliminary estimate of bogus expenses is ₹70 crore, the release stated. The search also found unaccounted-for investment in property of about ₹7 crore. The seizure included unaccounted-for cash of ₹1.95 crore and jewellery worth ₹65 lakh.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2021 11:57:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/designboxed-accused-of-expenditure-inflation-and-more/article37045877.ece

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