Probing 'Unaccounted Transactions' of Rs 200 Cr, Says CBDT After Raids on Bharat Samachar and Linked Businesses

The CBDT on Saturday claimed to have seized paperwork and digital information that point out “unaccounted” transactions of about Rs 200 crore after it raided Lucknow-based Hindi news channel Bharat Samachar and its linked businesses early this week. The searches were carried out on July 22 at Lucknow, Basti, Varanasi, Jaunpur and Kolkata and at the residential premises of Bharat Samachar Editor-in-chief Brajesh Misra, state head Virendra Singh, BJP MLA from Uttar Pradesh’s Harraiya (Basti district) assembly seat Ajay Singh and some others.

The CBDT did not identify the group in the statement and said that apart from news media, the group deals in mining, hospitality, liquor and real estate. Officials identified it to be the case linked to the raids carried out against Bharat Samachar. “Cash of more than Rs 3 crore has been seized and 16 lockers have been placed under restraint.” “Documents together with incriminating digital proof indicating practically Rs 200 crore of unaccounted transactions have been seized,” the CBDT claimed, adding the probe in the case is continuing.

After the raids, Misra said on his official Twitter handle that they are tax-compliant citizens and that they have been paying due taxes for the last two decades. He added that they have been fighting for the public through their journalistic work and the channel had become “the voice of the poor” when the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hit the nation this yr.

The assertion claimed that proof discovered throughout searches “establishes” that the business group has been earning huge outside-the-books income through mining, processing and sales in liquor, flour business, real estate, etc. “Unaccounted income emanating out of these transactions has been found exceeding Rs 90 crore as per preliminary estimates. “This income has been brought back into the books through a network of shell companies and other bogus entities without paying any taxes, thereby creating a charade that the money has been accounted for,” it alleged.

During the searches, greater than 15 corporations included at Kolkata and different locations have been discovered to be “non-existent.” “Share premia of over Rs 30 crore were collected by these shell companies through other similar entities or through individuals of no means,” the CBDT mentioned, alleging that there was “no financial rationale” for any such premium. It said the raids “established that individuals as well as shell entities were used by the group to launder huge funds amounting to more than Rs 40 crore, showing them as loans obtained by media companies.” “Taxation profiling of such shell entities who’ve supplied ‘loans’ signifies that they neither possess the monetary capacity nor had any financial rationale for advancing such ‘loans’,” it claimed.

It said that “these persons and entities were found to be closely related to the final beneficiaries.” One of those individuals had supplied loans of greater than Rs 1 crore to media entities and was himself not solely unlettered but additionally of very meagre monetary means, the assertion mentioned. “Taxation profiling of every particular person and entity indicated that both no returns have been filed or very meagre taxes had been paid which have been by no means commensurate with the massive quantity of loans and premia operating into crores,” it mentioned.

The CBDT said it was found that a “paper company” didn’t have any enterprise, the deal with talked about was false and it had no staff. “Yet it had been paid greater than Rs 4 crore of share premium by one other bogus concern. “Similar modus operandi was additionally adopted in having so-called ‘trade payables’ within the books of the primary entities of those companies by way of such doubtful considerations with unaccounted sources of funds,” it claimed.

These so-called ‘payables’ alone amount to more than Rs 50 crore, it alleged. The CBDT said that one of the branches of the group has “voluntarily disclosed” an earnings of Rs 20 crore through the search as soon as they have been confronted with the proof. “This disclosure contains Rs 13 crore of bogus ‘trade payables’,” it said. The group, it said, therefore devised a complex strategy of earning huge “unaccounted” earnings by way of the creation of subtle monetary layers of “doubtful and bogus” entities spread across multiple states, to route this unaccounted money back into the main businesses without paying any taxes. “The total amount of such unaccounted layering through bogus entities exceeds Rs 170 crore while the total unaccounted transactions exceed Rs 200 crore,” it claimed.

The CBDT mentioned the “unaccounted” amounts so earned were used partly for the purchase and construction of property. “Evidence of unaccounted payments in cash running into crores has been found during the search. “Evidence has also been found to indicate that payments exceeding Rs 2 crore have been made in cash by one of the businesses in violation of provisions of Income-tax Act, 1961,” it alleged.

Huge unaccounted cash has additionally been deposited in a gaggle belief and routed to the primary considerations, the assertion alleged.

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