I-T raids on realty firms, retail giant over tax evasion

Tax evasion cited as reason for action

January 29, 2019 01:01 pm | Updated January 30, 2019 07:38 am IST - CHENNAI

Shutters down at Saravana Stores outlet in T. Nagar, Chennai as income tax department is searching the premises, on Tuesday.

Shutters down at Saravana Stores outlet in T. Nagar, Chennai as income tax department is searching the premises, on Tuesday.

The Income Tax (I-T) department conducted searches on Tuesday at several premises belonging to two real estate firms — G Square Realtors Private Limited and Lotus Ventures and Infrabuild Private Limited — and a large retail firm, New Saravana Stores Bramandamai, suspecting tax evasion. Over 70 locations in Chennai and Coimbatore came under the scanner.

The searches continued until late in the evening. A taxman who was a part of the operation said that they had found unaccounted cash to the tune of ₹15 crore and detected massive tax evasion.

A senior I-T official from the investigations wing said, “We got a tip-off that all these firms have suppressed income and have evaded taxes. The firms have also done some big land transactions in the recent months and we wanted to look at how these deals were done.” “The land deals happened in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh,” he added.

Several partnerships

Another I-T official pointed out that the two real estate firms had floated several limited liability partnerships. “We are looking at each of these firms,” he said. Both firms have the same directors.

G Square has aggregated land for some big corporates to set up manufacturing plants and IT parks. It recently sold off a 12.2-acre land parcel on the Pallavaram-Thoraipakkam Road (also known as Radial Road) to a big group. The Lotus group has also carried out land consolidation for some big companies. According to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, both firms were incorporated in 2012.

In the case of Saravana Stores, the businesses of one of the brothers are under the scanner.“New Saravana Stores Bramandamai is the group we searched,” said a taxman. The store, located opposite Panagal Park in T.Nagar, was shuttered. The store’s manager stood outside and was seen informing customers that the outlet would remain closed all day.

While the taxmen did not disclose details of the search at New Saravana Stores Bramandamai, they did admit that the owner’s residences were searched as well.

On an average, the retailer has a daily footfall of 5,000 people during peak hours. The numbers increase during weekends and the festive season.

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