I-T Department detects ₹1,050 crore transactions during searches in Maharashtra

‘Funds involved cash paid by bureaucrats for key postings and the cash transferred by contractors for getting payments released’

The Income Tax (I-T) Department searches on a big syndicate involving certain businessmen and middlemen in Maharashtra and some persons holding public offices have led to the detection of transactions to the tune of ₹1,050 crore.

According to the agency, the funds in question involved the cash paid by bureaucrats for key postings under a certain Ministry and the cash transferred by the contractors for getting payments released. The I-T Department has not disclosed the names of the individuals concerned.

The operation was launched on September 23, based on the intelligence developed over the past six months. The agency covered 25 residential and 15 office premises. Surveys were also carried out at four offices.

“Some suites in Oberoi Hotel in Mumbai, permanently rented by two of the middlemen and used for meeting their clients, were also subjected to searches. The syndicate, consisting of businessmen, middlemen, associates and persons holding public offices, used various code names in their records and, in one case, had backdated records by 10 years,” said the agency.

The middlemen provided end-to-end services to corporates and entrepreneurs from land allotment to getting all governmental clearances. They also used angadiyas (couriers) for transferring funds.

The seized documents included a summary of overall cash generated and disbursed, giving the particulars of the amounts received and receivable, each being more than ₹200 crore. A major part of the collected cash had been distributed among various persons.

One businessman/middleman had amassed huge unaccounted income by purchasing lands from farmers and transferring the same to government undertakings and big corporates. “Many senior bureaucrats, their relatives and other prominent people have been found to have invested in these schemes,” said the I-T Department.

The agency said, “The said middleman receives payments from various businessmen and industrialists for getting lands under the schemes of government undertakings, extension of tenders/mining contracts, etc. Further, in a WhatsApp chat, particulars of transactions have been found showing receipt of cash of about ₹16 crore and outflow of about ₹12 crore.”

Some of the suspects had their own real estate and construction businesses. The searches had so far resulted in the seizure of ₹4.60 crore in cash and jewellery worth ₹3.42 crore, while four lockers had been put under restraint.

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